Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024
Trump ‘unleashed his followers’ on E. Jean Carroll, her lawyer tells jury


In her opening statement Tuesday, E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer Shawn Crowley tells the jury in former President Donald Trump’s second defamation trial that he “unleashed his followers to go after her” by continually denying her claim that he raped her in a department store changing room in the 1990s. Judge Lewis Kaplan tells prospective jurors “it has been determined already that Mr. Trump did sexually assault Ms. Carroll.” Here are the latest legal developments surrounding the former president who is seeking to be reelected to the White House in 2024.

E. Jean Carroll defamation

Trump ‘unleashed his followers to go after’ Carroll, her lawyer tells jury

Key players: Judge Lewis Kaplan, columnist E. Jean Carroll, Carroll attorney Shawn Crowley, Trump lawyer Alina Habba

  • In her opening statement Tuesday in the second civil defamation lawsuit brought against Trump, Crowley said the former president had “unleashed his followers to go after” Carroll “to threaten her life.”

  • “Donald Trump was president when he made those statements, and he used the world’s biggest microphone to attack Ms. Carroll, humiliate her and to destroy her reputation,” Crowley told the jury in the case that will decide how much more money, if any, Trump will owe Carroll.

  • Crowley noted that even as Trump sat in the courtroom earlier in the day, defamatory messages continued to be posted to his social media account.

  • “How much money will it take to make him stop?” Crowley asked the jury. “He kept up those very same lies even after a federal jury sat in this courtroom and unanimously found that he sexually assaulted her and defamed her.”

  • On his Truth Social account Tueday morning, messages attributed to Trump called Carroll’s allegation that he raped her in a department store changing room in the mid-1990s “fabricated” and “attempted extortion,” the Associated Press reported.

  • Habba has said that the evidence in the case will show that Trump did not ruin Carroll’s reputation, and that she continued to find career success following the alleged attack.

  • Carroll, who in May was awarded $5 million by a jury, is seeking another $10 million in compensatory damages as well as millions more in punitive damages for defamatory remarks Trump made about Carroll in 2019, when he was president.

  • Trump left the courtroom Tuesday prior to opening statements. The judge has agreed to allow him to testify on Monday in the case, even though arguments are expected to conclude this week.

Why it matters: Because a jury already found that Trump had sexually abused and defamed Carroll, his continued assertions that she lied about the attack in a department store changing room open him up to further legal action.

Judge: ‘It has been determined already that Mr. Trump did sexually assault Ms. Carroll’

Key players: Judge Lewis Kaplan, columnist E. Jean Carroll

  • With Trump looking on during jury selection on Tuesday, Kaplan informed the prospective jurors in the civil lawsuit that the case before them would not revisit the question of whether Trump sexually assaulted Carroll in the mid-1990s in the changing room of a New York department store, ABC News reported.

  • “The court determined in a previous decision that Mr. Trump is liable for defamation,” Kaplan said. “For purposes of this trial it has been determined already that Mr. Trump did sexually assault Ms. Carroll, that he knew when he made these statements about Ms. Carroll … that they were false or with reckless disregard.”

  • In May, a Manhattan jury ruled that Trump had assaulted Carroll and then defamed her in 2022 by claiming that the incident never happened

  • “This woman is not my type!” Trump wrote in a social media post calling Carroll’s claims “a hoax and a lie.”

  • The jury sided with Carroll and awarded her $5 million in damages.

  • The new case will determine whether comments Trump made in 2019, when he was president, also constituted defamation.

  • “She is trying to sell a new book — that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section. Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda,” Trump said in the 2019 statement about Carroll’s account of the assault.

  • Kaplan also assured the jury pool that their identities would not be made public.

  • “Neither your names nor the names of the jurors who are ultimately selected nor any other identifying information will be made public,” Kaplan said.

Why it matters: With the earlier court decision, the question before the second jury is much more simple to decide. Kaplan has indicated that the trial could be over in a week’s time. Should the jury rule against Trump a second time, he could owe Carroll millions more in damages.

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USA Today: Fireworks in court as Donald Trump faces rape accuser E. Jean Carroll in defamation trial

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Monday, Jan. 15

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Adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, tells her podcast audience that she is “set to testify” in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York in March. Trump is charged with 34 felonies in the case and has pleaded not guilty. Here are the latest legal developments for the Republican who hopes to be reelected to the White House in 2024.

New York hush money

Stormy Daniels declares she is ‘set to testify’ in Trump hush money trial

Key players: Adult film star Stormy Daniels, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

  • On Sunday, Daniels said on her podcast that she was “set to testify” in Trump’s hush money trial in New York that begins on March 25, CBS News reported.

  • “Obviously, things have been next-level crazy, since I am set to testify in, at this point in time, March — obviously, that can change at any moment — in the hush money case,” Daniels said on the podcast.

  • Two civil cases against Trump have already been heard since he left the White House, and jury selection for a third will begin on Tuesday. The hush money trial is the first of four criminal cases that could be heard during the Republican presidential primary.

  • In March 2023, Trump made history by becoming the first former president to be indicted on criminal charges. He is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in order to hide a payment to Daniels in 2016 for $130,000 that Daniels alleges was made to cover up an alleged extramarital affair that took place in 2006.

  • Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denies that he ever had the affair with Daniels.

  • Daniels has detailed having sex with Trump in 2006 in a memoir titled Full Disclosure and in media interviews.

  • Cohen, who testified before the Manhattan grand jury about making the $130,000 payment to Daniels on Trump’s behalf, will also testify in the case.

Why it matters: Daniels will certainly be asked on the witness stand to revisit the details of the alleged affair with Trump. As this is a criminal trial, Trump will be required to be present for that testimony.

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