Trump’s sexual defamation trial begins, one day after historic win in Iowa


Former President Donald Trump, center, leaves Trump Tower in New York, US, on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.

David de Delgado | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A day after scoring a landslide victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses, former President Donald Trump is set to begin a civil trial in a sexual assault defamation lawsuit filed by author E. Gene Carroll in Manhattan federal court.

Trump plans to attend the trial on Tuesday, where quick selection and opening statements are expected.

The trial will determine only one question: What damages Trump must pay to Carroll for the defamatory statements he made about her while he was president, and then again last year, when he denied her allegation that he raped her in a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s. Carroll’s lawyers want him to pay at least $10 million.

Another jury in a trial last fall found that Trump sexually assaulted her in the incident, and he defamed her in late 2022 in statements denying the allegation. That jury, which did not find him liable for Carroll’s rape, ordered him to pay her $5 million.

E. Jane Carroll arrives for her defamation trial against former President Donald Trump in New York federal court on January 16, 2024 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Trump is appealing the ruling in this case. Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over both cases, said in September that the ruling in the first trial found that Carroll was telling the truth about Trump’s assault on her and “prevents Mr. Trump from challenging the falsity of his 2019 statements” about her.

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Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, on Monday withdrew from the case and from a criminal case in Manhattan Supreme Court where Trump is accused of falsifying business records related to a 2016 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Tacopina, whose other celebrity clients have included New York Yankees outfielder Alex Rodriguez, rappers Meek Mill and A$AP Rocky, did not say why he stopped representing Trump.

Trump claimed in a social media post Tuesday morning that the new trial is another example of his political enemies trying to hurt his chances of regaining the White House.

“Biden encouraged the Witch Hunt in lower Manhattan to fight a fake case from a woman I have never met, seen or touched (celebrity quotes don’t count!),” Trump wrote in his TruthSocial post.

“Of course, it starts right after Iowa, and during the very important New Hampshire primary, where I’ll be tonight, despite their nefarious attempts! It’s a giant election interference scam, pushed and funded by political operatives. I had no idea who this was “It was the woman. Pure imagination!” he wrote.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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