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Trump facing $10m defamation trial

by Reporter - Jan 17 526 Views 0 Comment

After winning the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump faced a multimillion-dollar defamation suit in another New York courtroom on Tuesday.

E Jean Carroll, a columnist who accused Mr Trump of sexual assault in the 1990s, is now seeking damages for defamatory statements he made about her during his presidency. Sitting a couple of rows behind her, the ex-president gazed fixedly at the woman he insists he does not know of, never encountered, or had any interaction with whatsoever. Ms Carroll, on the other hand, seemed to not pay him any attention. Throughout the proceedings, she consistently faced the bench, giving Mr. Trump a view of her back. In contrast to his previous court appearance in Manhattan, which happened just last week for a completely unrelated matter, Mr. Trump remained silent during the proceedings. However, his fidgety and alert stance gave off a vibe of restlessness. In a previous jury trial held last May, it was determined that Mr. Trump had sexually assaulted and defamed Ms. Carroll. He is currently seeking to overturn this decision through the appeals process. Those findings from that case are relevant to this situation. So, there's this new trial happening to figure out if Mr. Trump caused any harm with those defamatory statements he made back in 2019. And if he did, they're going to decide how much money he's gotta cough up to compensate her. According to Shawn Crowley, one of Ms Carroll's attorneys, the jury will have to think about the amount of money Donald Trump should be held accountable for his actions. She casually asked, "So, what's the price to make him quit?" Once Ms Carroll made her allegations of rape public, Mr Trump wasted no time in attempting to discredit her claims from the White House. In June 2019, Mr. Trump dismissed her account as a complete fabrication and claimed he did not know the woman in question. According to her lawyers, those statements damaged her reputation and resulted in a flood of death threats, rape threats, and online hate. During the court proceedings, Ms. Crowley stated that the ex-president had encouraged his supporters to target Carroll and make threats against her life. According to her, Mr. Trump utilized a massive platform to slander and shame her client, resulting in her living in constant fear. Mr. Trump just won't let up on his attacks against her on his Truth Social account - even though his previous statements were deemed defamatory. While he was in court on Tuesday morning, the official account on Mr. Trump's Truth Social platform sent out over two dozen posts, vehemently dismissing the case as "PURE FICTION." Alina Habba, Mr Trump's lead attorney, argued that Carroll did not merit damages, as her allegation of sexual assault had brought her fame. "You'll see that her career has really taken off and she's back in the spotlight, just like she's always wanted," Ms Habba said.

Questions about QAnon

Trump observed closely as potential jurors entered the room, shifting in his seat to assess each one as they responded to the judge's inquiries. There were some pretty interesting questions asked during jury selection because of his presence in the room. The lawyers and judge wanted to make sure the potential jurors could give a fair verdict. They were asked about their voting history in the 2016 and 2020 elections, their beliefs in the QAnon conspiracy theory, their affiliation with right-wing militia groups, and their stance on the MeToo movement. Two individuals claimed that the 2020 election was stolen.

A woman mentioned that she had volunteered for the Biden campaign that year. They got kicked out of the pool. Because of all the attention from the media and politicians, the jury will be kept anonymous. The judge suggested that jurors use aliases when communicating with each other, and the court will ensure their safe transportation from undisclosed locations to the courthouse. At around 3:00 PM local time (8:00 PM GMT), nine New York residents settled into their seats in the jury box. However, Mr Trump exited the room before Judge Lewis Kaplan brought up the accuser's claims again. In a 2019 article from New York magazine, Ms Carroll, who is now 80 years old, shared a story about a random encounter she had with the real estate mogul in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan during the 1990s. She mentioned that the two had run into each other while shopping. According to reports, Mr. Trump apparently sought her opinion on purchasing lingerie for someone else and even playfully suggested that she model it for him. But when they were in the changing rooms, Ms Carroll claimed that the real estate tycoon suddenly attacked her, pushing her against a wall and assaulting her. Mr Trump quickly dismissed the story as "completely untrue". He keeps saying that Ms. Carroll made it up just to sell her memoir. In the May 2023 trial, it was determined that Mr. Trump had engaged in sexual abuse and defamation against Ms. Carroll. During the trial, Judge Kaplan made it clear to the jury that Mr. Trump's statements from June 2019 were deemed false and defamatory. It was also pointed out that he was aware of their falsehood or probable falsehood at the time he made them.

An explosive trial ahead

The leading Republican candidate skipped the initial civil trial related to Ms. Carroll's allegations. In 2022, he's already facing a hefty $5m (£4m) bill for labelling her story a "con job" and a "hoax." The trial is going to be short, but it could have some intense moments. Ms Carroll is set to testify on Wednesday and the case is expected to conclude on Thursday. However, Judge Lewis Kaplan has granted permission for Mr. Trump to testify on the upcoming Monday. That follows a heated disagreement between the legal teams regarding the former president's testimony. Last week, the judge issued a warning in a serious tone, stating that Mr Trump is not allowed to present any testimony, evidence, or argument that denies or implies that he did not sexually assault Ms Carroll, that she made up her account of the assault, or that she had any reason to do so. Roberta Kaplan, Ms Carroll's lead attorney, has mentioned that Mr Trump will try to create confusion with his testimony. "There could be various reasons why Mr. Trump might see a personal or political advantage in deliberately transforming this trial into a spectacle," she noted in a memo addressed to Judge Kaplan. Ms Habba mentioned that the former president is fully aware of the court's ruling and the limitations on his testimony.

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