Trump’s possible testimony in the defamation trial of E. Jean Carroll postponed due to juror illness

(Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

Trump’s possible testimony in the defamation trial of E. Jean Carroll postponed due to juror illness


January 22, 2024

The illness of a juror on Monday forced the postponement of at least one day of a defamation trial against the former president


Trump was expected to tell a jury why he spent years speaking so derogatorily about E. Jean Carroll, the writer who claims he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.

As he did twice last week, Trump arrived in his motorcade at Manhattan federal court for the resumption of the penalty phase of a defamation trial over his 2019 comments labeling Carroll a liar who faked a sexual assault to sell his memoirs.

But Judge Lewis A. Kaplan announced shortly before 10 a.m. that one of the nine jurors was told to go home and take a coronavirus test after reporting feeling ill.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, also reported that at least one of her parents has COVID-19 and that she had been showing symptoms of fever for the past two days after having dinner with them several days ago. However, she tested negative for the virus on Monday.

On Monday, Trump did not wear a protective mask in court.

After Kaplan announced the trial would be postponed for at least a day, Habba asked if Trump’s testimony could be postponed until Wednesday because of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. The judge did not immediately rule.

Because another jury ruled last year that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll, Kaplan has ruled that if the former president takes the stand now, he will not be allowed to say she fabricated her accusation or that she was motivated by financial or political considerations.

Last week, the well-spoken ex-president and current Republican frontrunner sat at the defense table as Carroll testified and complained to his lawyers about a witch hunt and a scam so loud that the judge threatened to throw Trump out of the courtroom if he Trump continued and remained in the courtroom, and then held a press conference where he deplored the annoying judge


and claimed that, quite frankly, it’s a shame what’s happening, Trump told reporters, repeating his claim

“That statement by Carroll was a fabricated, made-up story.”

In addition to clashing with Kaplan, Trump also took on a New York state judge in his recent civil suit fraud case, alleging he inflated his wealth. Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, delivered a kind of short closing argument without committing to rules for summonses and attacked the judge from the witness stand. He was also ordered to pay a total of $15,000 for what the judge deemed a violation of a silence order regarding comments about court personnel. Trump’s lawyers are appealing the order.

In Carroll’s case, her lawyers have begged the judge to make Trump swear before any testimony that he understands and accepts the court’s restrictions on what he can say.

There are a number of reasons why Mr. Trump might see a personal or political benefit from deliberately turning this trial into a circus, attorney Roberta Kaplan wrote in a letter to the judge, who is not related.

Trump is dealing with four criminal cases, the civil fraud case and the Carroll lawsuit as the presidential primary season gets underway. He is juggling court and sham campaigns, using both to claim he is being persecuted by Democrats terrified of his possible election.

After Monday’s hearing, Trump was expected to travel to an evening campaign event in New Hampshire, where his Republican presidential primary will be held on Tuesday.

His forays into court have also at times increased media coverage of developments he likes, such as an accounting professor’s testimony for Trump’s defense in the fraud trial and his criticism of developments he does not make.

He frequently addressed the news cameras waiting outside the fraud trial in a New York state court. Cameras are not allowed in the federal courthouse where the Carroll trial is taking place, so he left at one point and held a press conference in one of his New York buildings while his accuser continued testing against him.

I’m here because Donald Trump attacked me, and when I wrote about it he said it never happened. He lied and destroyed my reputation, Carroll, a former former advice columnist for Elle magazine, told jurors while Trump was still in the courtroom.

Trump is not required to attend or testify in the civil case. He stayed away from the earlier trial last year, where another jury awarded Carroll $5 million after deciding that Trump sexually assaulted her in 1996 and made defamatory comments about her in 2022. Trump will appeal that verdict.

For complex legal reasons, Carroll’s defamation claims were split between two lawsuits. Hence the second lawsuit, in which she demands more than ten million dollars in damages.

Trump has said his lawyers advised him not to dignify the first trial by attending it. He goes to the second, he says, because of what he sees as the judge’s hostility.

Habba told the court in a letter that he may take a stand because, even with the judge’s restrictions, he can still provide significant testimony in his defense.”

He can testify, among other things, about his state of mind when he made the statements that landed him in court and how his comments came about when Carroll was doing media interviews and reporters asked him about her, Habba wrote.

She also suggested that he could show his lack of ill will or resentment by talking about how he corrected his initial denial that he had ever met Carroll.

The review occurred after a reporter drew Trump’s attention to a 1987 photo of him, Carroll and their then-husbands at a charity event. Trump responded that he stood in a line with my jacket on and gave me a break.

The Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press typically do not name accusers in sexual assault cases unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.


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