Judge, citing Trump’s ‘repeated public statements’, orders anonymous jury in defamation trial

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NEW YORK (AP) — A New York federal judge cited former President Donald Trump’s “repeated public statements” on Friday among the reasons a jury will remain anonymous when it considers damages from a defamation lawsuit brought by a writer who says Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. .

Judge Louis A. Kaplan ordered that the jury selected for the January trial in Manhattan be transported by the U.S. Marshals Service.

“In light of Mr. Trump’s repeated public statements regarding Plaintiff and the Court in this case as well as in other cases against him, and the extensive media coverage this case has already received and which is likely to increase once the trial concludes” whether imminent or ongoing, the Court finds that there is cause “strong belief that jurors require the protection” provided by anonymity, Kaplan wrote in his order.

Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Another jury was also anonymous In May he earned $5 million In damages to columnist E. Jane Carroll, 79, after it was discovered that Trump sexually assaulted her in 1996 in the dressing room of a luxury department store and defamed her with comments he made in the fall of 2022 that disparaged her allegations. The jury rejected Carroll’s claim that Trump raped her. Kaplan also presided over that trial.

The January 15 trial stems from A The lawsuit was first filed in 2019 In response to comments Trump made after she wrote in her memoir that Trump attacked her after they met late in the day at a midtown Manhattan store near Trump Tower, where Trump resides. The progress of the case has been slowed by the appeal. A federal appeals court has not yet ruled on Trump’s claim that absolute presidential immunity protects him from lawsuit.

After the May ruling, Kaplan ruled that Carroll’s lawyers would not have to seat a new jury that accused Trump of sexually assaulting Carroll. Instead, it will be left to them to decide what damages, if any, he should face for his statements.

Which The lawsuit has been updated by Carroll’s attorneys to include remarks made by Trump in a televised town hall the day after the ruling. Carroll is seeking at least $10 million in compensatory damages and much larger punitive damages.

A week ago, Trump announced the most prominent candidate for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2024, He was fined $10,000 By a New York state judge for violating a gag order prohibiting him from attacking court employees in a civil fraud case.

State Judge Arthur Engoron asked Trump to sit in the witness stand and answer questions. Trump denied that he was referring to a senior law clerk when he told reporters outside the court that someone “sitting next to” Engoron “was probably a lot more partisan than he was.”

After Trump (77 years old) testified, the judge said: “I find that the witness is not credible.”

Engoron, who had earlier fined Trump $5,000 for violating the same gag order after a judge found that He targeted his chief legal clerk On social media, they suggested Trump could be held “in contempt of court, and possibly jailed” for further violations.

He also faces Trump Four criminal indictments. He has pleaded not guilty to two cases accusing him of seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, along with a secret documents case and accusations that he helped arrange a bribe to porn actress Stormy Daniels to silence her before the 2016 presidential election.

This article originally appeared on apnews.com

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