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Trump’s trial for defamation in sexual assault case resumes

Donald Trump is expected to be back in court Tuesday in New York for a civil case in which he has already been found liable for sexually abusing and defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll.

A jury in May of last year concluded that Trump sexually assaulted her in the dressing room of a New York department store in 1996.

It awarded her around $2 million for the assault and $3 million for defamation over Trump’s remark in 2022, calling her claim “a complete con job.”

Tuesday’s trial will address how much Trump should be forced to pay for separate remarks he made about Carroll in 2019, as president. She is seeking $10 million in damages.

The second trial opens with jury selection just a day after Trump’s big win in the Iowa caucuses — the opening of the Republican presidential nomination process — and ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

Trump, the runaway favorite for the Republican nomination, said last week he planned to attend the proceedings in person and face Carroll, now 80. He did not do this in the first trial.

US media reported he will attend the opening session on Tuesday, before heading to a campaign rally in New Hampshire.

According to a document filed in the case, Trump, 77, requested a postponement to attend the funeral of his mother-in-law, Amalija Knavs, Thursday in Florida.

But Judge Lewis Kaplan refused, pointing out that Trump was still planning to meet with supporters in New Hampshire.

Last week the former president continued to insist of Carroll that “I never saw this woman in my life.”

“I have no idea who this woman is,” said Trump, who variously has called her a liar, “a wack job” and “not my type.”

Counting Tuesday’s trial, Trump is ensnared in at least six civil and criminal trials, including two stemming from his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.

Trump claims he is being politically persecuted and has made speeches full of invective, targeting judges and prosecutors who he says are trying to deny him a second term in the White House.

With tensions high around Trump’s trials — court officials in his civil fraud case whom he has criticized by name have received death threats — the judge ordered that the jurors’ names be kept secret.

He also warned that the only issue at stake will be the harm caused to Carroll by Trump’s comments, which Kaplan already said he considered “defamatory,” “false” and “malicious.”

Trump cannot introduce any evidence to argue he did not sexually assault her and that he did not defame her, the judge has said.

AFP

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