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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Delay in Damages Trial due to Covid Concerns: Trump Keeps Up Verbal Attacks on E. Jean Carroll

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Trump’s attorney Alina Habba said she was sick but tested negative, and a juror in the case was ill, as well.

E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against Donald Trump — and his possible testimony — was postponed for two days Monday over Covid concerns, but that didn’t stop the former president from continuing to attack her.

“Despite the fact that I was there, on time and on schedule, it was just learned that one of the jurors is, unfortunately, not feeling well, and for that reason, today’s session of the trial, having to do with a woman I know absolutely nothing about, has therefore been cancelled with a new date to be determined,” Trump said in one of about three dozen posts regarding Carroll on his social media platform Truth Social on Monday morning.

The trial was postponed after a juror in the case headed home to test for Covid after feeling ill on the way to court, and Trump lawyer Alina Habba told the judge that she’d had a fever after being with relatives three days ago who later tested positive for Covid. She said her co-counsel Michael Madaio had been exposed, as well. Both tested negative for Covid in court, and were seated shoulder to shoulder on either side of their 77-year-old client without any masks on as they addressed U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan.

The judge granted Habba’s request for a one-day postponement and said in the morning he would consider her request to postpone Trump’s testimony until Wednesday because of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. Later in the day a court official said the trial would resume Wednesday morning.

Carroll, who sued Trump for defaming her when he was president by calling her sexual abuse allegations against him “pure fiction” and a “hoax,” was expected to wrap up her case by Monday afternoon, paving the way for Trump’s defense case to start. He is listed as one of only two defense witnesses and has said he plans to testify.

The judge has already found Trump liable for defamation, including for his claims that her allegations are a made-up hoax. After jury selection, Kaplan told jurors that Carroll’s earlier trial had already established as fact her claims against Trump and that they were not allowed to consider otherwise.

Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan objected to Habba’s request to delay Trump’s testimony until Wednesday. “We would like to get this trial over” with.

Trump’s Truth Social barrage against Carroll began shortly after the court was adjourned for the day, and, as he’d done previously, reposted several old posts of hers while adding his own commentary on her and her case. “End this Witch Hunt now!” one of his posts said.

Carroll is seeking at least $10 million in compensatory damages, and the existence of the messages will likely be used by her lawyers to ask the jury for a higher amount in punitive damages, which would be aimed at deterring Trump from continuing to defame Carroll.

The case is the second civil trial involving Carroll and Trump. The first took place last year after Carroll sued him, alleging he raped her in the dressing room of a New York City department store in 1996 and then defamed her by calling her accusations a financially motivated “con job” after he left the White House. The jury did not find Trump liable for rape but did find him liable for battery for sexually abusing her and defamation. It awarded Carroll $5 million in damages.

Trump is appealing the verdict.

Trump had said he was going to testify in that case, but he ultimately decided not to.

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