Arizona GOP event canceled due to Trump court appearance

An event hosted by the Arizona Republican Party featuring former President Trump has been canceled after closing arguments were set in his defamation case brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, whom he sexually assaulted, according to a jury in a previous trial.

“Regrettably, the AZGOP Freedom Fest 2024 has been canceled as President @realDonaldTrump is required to attend to court obligations,” the state party posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Trump has spent the last several days in court in the defamation trial brought forth by Carroll. The trial comes months after Trump was found liable for sexual battery after she accused him in 2019 of raping her in the 1990s.

The AZ GOP Freedom Fest was scheduled to take place in Phoenix on Friday evening. Closing arguments in the trial have been scheduled to take place in the New York court Friday morning, though Trump is not required to attend.

“We stand with him during this time and eagerly anticipate welcoming him back to Arizona in the near future,” the Arizona Republican Party posted. “Everyone who purchased a ticket will receive a full refund.”

The chair of the Arizona Republican Party, Jeff DeWit, announced he was resigning Wednesday, after audio leaked that appeared to show him attempting to pay Kari Lake, an avid Trump supporter, to not run for Senate. The party will host its annual meeting Saturday.

In court Thursday, Trump delivered a brief, fiery testimony. His testimony set up a critical moment in the case, as he looks to avoid paying Carroll the $10 million in damages she requests for his denial of her allegations.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, the federal judge overseeing the case, threatened to kick Trump out of the courtroom for his “disruptive” behavior.

As the front-runner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, Trump has been accused of using his various court appearances in recent months as campaign events for his reelection efforts.

Arizona is one of the few states that helped decide the 2020 presidential election. Trump lost the state to President Biden by fewer than 11,000 votes in 2020. Trump currently has a 6.8 percentage point lead over Biden in the Grand Canyon state, per the The Hill/Decision Desk HQ poll tracker.

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