Donald Trump, fresh off his victory in the Iowa caucuses, turned up at federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday for jury selection at writer E. Jean Carroll’s second trial against the former president.
The former president, wearing a navy blue suit and a bright red tie, took his seat at the defense table around 9:30 a.m., sitting less than 10 feet behind Carroll and her legal team. He wasn’t in court an hour when more defamatory remarks went up on his Truth Social account about Carroll, claiming she was trying to extort him and had fabricated the assault, among other highly disparaging comments.
He also trashed Manhattan federal court Judge Lewis Kaplan as a “Clinton-appointed” judge “unable to see clearly because of his absolute hatred of Donald J. Trump (ME!).” It wasn’t clear who published the tweets. Trump is not supposed to have his phone inside the courthouse.
Jurors will be asked to determine how much Trump owes Carroll for defamatory comments he made in June 2019 after she first accused him of assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman changing room in the 1990s in an excerpt of her book “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal.” Then-President Trump, at the time, infamously said he didn’t do it because Carroll was not his “type” and accused her of fabricating the incident to sell her book.
In September, Kaplan ruled that Trump was liable for defamation as the comments were substantially the same as post-presidency remarks jurors determined were defamatory at Carroll’s first trial against Trump in May, ordering him to shell out $5 million. The jury also found him liable for sexual assault.
The defamation case on trial, which was filed years before the one Trump lost last year, was bogged down incessantly by his appeals, arguing he couldn’t be sued for things he said when he was president. Carroll is seeking at least $10 million.
Judge Kaplan had little patience for Trump’s lawyers after he took the bench, and they objected to a nonexistent gag order and complained that they did not know who Carroll was calling as a witness. The judge pointed out they’d had the witness list for months.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, counselor; there’s no gag order,” the judge added, repeating the standard instruction of not to discuss the case in front of jurors or prospective jurors.
Habba also complained about the judge’s refusal to push back the trial a week on account of the death of Trump’s mother-in-law. Kaplan said Sunday he would allow Trump to testify next week even if the parties have finished their cases.
Trump’s legal team plans to call him as a witness, and Carol Martin, a friend of Carroll’s, who testified at the first trial. Martin was one of two friends Carroll confided in about the assault decades ago.