Trump’s damages trial in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case begins with the former president in the courtroom
previous president Donald Trump He attended a defamation damages trial in New York on Tuesday, sitting about 10 feet away from him E. Jean Carrollthe writer who a civil jury said last year was Responsible for sexual assault In the 1990’s.
Trump was in the courtroom for jury selection but left before opening statements began to go to a campaign rally in New Hampshire. He was not present when Carroll’s lawyer, Sean Crowley, told the jury how Trump had upended her client’s life and that they needed to hand down a sentence large enough to “make him stop” targeting her.
“We think that number should be large,” Crowley said. “Very significant.”
in a post on his Truth Social platform hours after he predicted victory In the Iowa caucuses on Monday, Trump called the case a “giant election interference scam.” He added: “I had no idea who this woman was.”
Trump’s quick leap from his victory speech Monday night in Iowa to a courtroom in New York Tuesday morning to a rally in New Hampshire Tuesday night is a microcosm of the former president’s year ahead, as he is expected to oscillate between campaigning and politics. Court casesincluding four pending criminal trials.
Trump, who is also expected to attend Wednesday’s proceedings, arrived at the courtroom at 9:40 a.m. ET and took a seat at the defense table. Carroll was sitting two rows in front of him and did not turn around. It is believed to be the first time the two have been in the same room in more than 25 years. During a break later in the day, Carroll walked out of the courtroom and passed Trump, who had his back to her.
Trump appeared attentive when US District Judge Lewis Kaplan questioned potential jurors. At one point, the judge asked whether anyone among the roughly 50 people believed the 2020 election was stolen; After two people said yes, Trump looked to see which one. One of the two also answered affirmatively when asked if they thought Trump was as well Unfair treatment By the court system.
Neither of them was ultimately chosen from among the nine jurors.
The judge has already found Trump is responsible For defaming Carroll in statements he made as president in 2019 in which he mocked her allegations of sexual assault. The jury’s only job will be to decide how much money she should get for those statements, as well as other statements Trump made after a different jury last year found him liable for those statements. Sexual violence And defamation.
In a post on Truth Social on Tuesday morning, while sitting in the courtroom, Trump blasted Carroll’s account as “concocted lies and political hoaxes,” writing that the judge “was unable to see clearly because of his absolute hatred for Donald Johnson.” Trump (me!).”
In her opening statement, Crowley told the jury that Trump “not only denied the assault” when Carroll first came forward, “but went much further. He said he had no idea who she was. He accused her of lying.” “And to fabricate a story to make money and promote some political conspiracies against him. He threatened her. He said she should pay a heavy price for speaking out against him.”
“Donald Trump was president when he made these statements and used the largest megaphone in the world to attack, humiliate and destroy Ms. Carroll,” Crowley told the jury. He told the jury that Trump’s verbal attacks unleashed a torrent of attacks against her. Her supporters threatened and insulted her. Crowley said that not a day had passed since Carroll “wasn’t afraid,” adding that Trump’s attacks had continued unabated since the ruling last year.
“He sat in the courtroom this morning. And as he sat there, he posted more defamatory statements, more lies about Ms. Carroll and this case. By our count, by our last count, 22 posts, just today. Think about that,” she said. “That’s when you consider how much money it would take to convince him to stop.”
“It’s time to hold him accountable.”
Trump lawyer Alina Haba She responded that Carole’s reputation “has not been damaged. On the contrary. She has gained more fame and reputation than she ever dreamed possible.”
Haba told the jury that Carole had been “put back in the spotlight like she always wanted” and was “looking for you to give her a windfall because some people on social media said bad things about her.”
“She doesn’t want to repair her reputation,” Haba said. “She loves her new brand and has been investing in it for years.”
Testimony is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning, and Carroll is expected to be the first witness to take the stand.
Carol strives at least 10 million dollars For the damage Trump has done to her reputation and likely several times that amount in punitive damages for continuing to publicly describe her account of sexual assault as a “hoax” on television, social media and at his rallies.
Trump said he intends to testify in his own defense. “I’ll explain that I don’t know who the hell she is,” he told reporters on Thursday.
in Prosecute Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said Friday that Trump has already been found responsible for the assault and, under a previous order from a judge, cannot retry the case from the witness stand. She urged the judge to preemptively rein in Trump.
“If Mr. Trump appears at this trial, whether as a witness or otherwise, his recent statements and behavior strongly suggest that he will seek to sow chaos,” her filing said. “Indeed, he may see merit in seeking to poison these proceedings, where the only question before the jury is how much he will have to pay in damages for defamation of Ms Carroll.”
She added: “This court should make clear from the beginning that Mr. Trump is prohibited from engaging in such antics and will suffer consequences if he does so.”
Argue for love in a Deposit Sunday that Kaplan’s request was “inappropriate” and should be denied. She said Trump intends to testify about his mental state when he makes his comments about Carroll and also plans to discuss Ms. Carroll’s “continuous interview show” when she first came out publicly.
In a ruling issued late Sunday, the judge simply said the court “will take such measures as it deems appropriate to avoid circumventing its rulings and the law.”
Trump’s lawyers — who had previously tried several times to postpone the trial — also asked in a separate court filing whether the proceedings could be delayed for a week because of Trump’s funeral. Melania Trumpmother, Amalia Knavs, Thursday. The file stated that Trump would travel with his family to Florida on Wednesday to obtain services, and indicated that the court does not meet on Fridays.
Kaplan denied the request but said Sunday that if Trump’s team concludes its defense on Thursday, he would allow Trump to return to court to testify next Monday.
He also noted that despite Trump’s assertion that Wednesday is a family travel day, “Mr. Trump has scheduled a campaign appearance for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.”
Haba asked again Tuesday morning, before the jury was called, to postpone the trial so that Trump, who is not obligated to attend court, would not have to miss part of the trial while attending the funeral. Trump shook his head while Kaplan declined the request.
The trial, which is expected to last four days, is the second to involve Carroll and Trump.
In a trial before the same judge last year, a jury found Trump liable Sexual assault Carroll, a magazine writer, in a dressing room at a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s, and to slander her after he left the White House by calling her a “stupid job” and her story a “hoax,” among other insults. The jury awarded her $5 million in damages, a ruling that Trump appealed.
Carroll’s lawyers used — and according to court filings plan to use again — parts of the clock Video recorded deposition Trump sat on the case in October 2022 during the trial. In his testimony, Trump called Carroll’s claims a “big hoax” and “pure fantasy,” and insisted that “physically, she’s not my type.”
During questioning, he was shown an old photo of him and Carol standing together at an event I made a mistake in it to his wife at the time, Marla Maples. “This is Marla. He said, ‘Yes, this is my wife.’” After pointing out the error, he said the photo was “too blurry.”
Trump’s appellate lawyer in that case, Joe Tacopina, told NBC News on Monday that he had withdrawn from representing Trump in the case as well as from his criminal case in New York in which he alleged Trump falsified business records. Tacopina, a longtime prominent New York lawyer, declined to comment further, which was first reported by the British newspaper The Independent. yH NeW York Times.
Carroll went public in 2019 by claiming that Trump raped her. She was able to sue Trump over the rape allegation in 2022 after New York passed Law That opened a one-year window for adult victims of sex crimes to file civil lawsuits, even if the statute of limitations on their claims had expired, as happened with Carroll.
The jury did not find Trump liable for rape as defined under New York criminal law, but did find him liable for sexual assault.
As a result of that ruling, Kaplan found Trump liable for defamation in this new case, which centers on the then-president’s claim that he never met Carroll and her assertions that she made up the story to publicize her book and was paid. Money to fabricate the story.
“It is shameful and people must pay a heavy price for such false accusations,” Trump said in a statement on June 21, 2019.
Carroll is seeking more money in this case than in the previous case, arguing that Trump’s statements as president caused her more harm than comments he made about her after his presidency.
The judge’s liability greatly limits Trump’s ability to defend the case, because he cannot deny responsibility for the assault. In court filings in November, Trump’s team said it intended to argue that Carroll “suffered no reputational or economic harm as a result of these statements,” and that if she did, any such harm would be minimal. The judge told potential jurors that Trump’s lawyers maintain that Carroll should receive “nominal” damages, not punitive damages.
As in the first trial, the judge will use An anonymous jury Because of “the strong possibility of unwanted media attention to jurors, attempts at influence, and/or harassment or worse by Mr. Trump’s supporters.” [and/or by Mr. Trump himself]”.
He ordered that the jurors’ names, addresses and places of work not be revealed, and said that the jury would be picked up and dropped off at an undisclosed location every day.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com