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Former President Donald Trump returned to his home city of New York on Monday to attend a trial involving E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against him, which could include his testimony.
The Washington Times reported that Trump, who may wind up sealing the 2024 GOP presidential nomination with a win in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, “has signaled he wants to address the jury in his battle with Ms. Carroll, a columnist who alleges the former president raped her in a department store in 1996 and defamed her when she came forward decades later.”
On Sunday, Trump told New Hampshire supporters he was planning to head back to New York City to attend the trial, but it remains to be seen if he plans on testifying.
“I don’t have to be there, but I want to be there because otherwise, I can’t get a fair shake. I’m going to be in court,” Trump said during a campaign stop in Rochester.
In a prior trial, she was granted $5 million in damages after Trump was found responsible for sexual abuse and defamation allegations linked to her claims and the former president’s remarks from 2022.
The court ruled that the liability verdict from the initial trial would be applicable to the subsequent trial, with jurors only tasked with determining the amount Trump is required to pay.
Due to those parameters, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan will restrict what Trump is allowed to say if he is placed on the stand. That will include barring Trump from denying he sexually abused Carroll or that he truly believed what he said about her in 2019.
During a previous court appearance, Trump and Kaplan exchanged words, with the judge threatening to evict him from the courtroom at one point.
During the proceedings, Trump reportedly banged on a table, shook his hands in the air, and made remarks about Carroll as she testified, according to Politico’s Erica Orden, who described one of the exchanges between the former president and Judge Lewis Kaplan:
JUDGE: Mr. Trump has the right to be present here. That right can be forfeited. Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial.
TRUMP: I would love it!
JUDGE: I know you would. I know you would. You just can’t control yourself in this circumstance, apparently.
Also during the proceedings, Kaplan had earlier in the day advised Trump to “keep his voice down.”
Outside the courtroom after the hearing, Trump addressed reporters.
Shawn Crowley, Carroll’s attorney, claimed to the judge that she overheard Trump disparaging Carroll during her testimony.
“Mr. Trump has been loudly saying things, including that the witness is lying and noting that she has suddenly got her memory back,” Crowley told Kaplan after jurors were released from the room. “It’s loud enough that some of us here are hearing it.”
“I’m going to ask Mr. Trump to take special care to keep his voice down in conferring with his attorneys,” Kaplan said.
Despite the warning, Trump persisted in criticizing Carroll throughout the testimony, which led Crowley to inform Kaplan prior to lunch that she could still hear Trump insulting Carroll.
“As you know, the First Lady’s mother passed away,” he began.
“The funeral is tomorrow, and we would have assumed that for a trial like this — it’s not an emergency in terms of timing — the judge would’ve been very nice and let me go because I want to be at every trial day,” Trump continued. “Because I saw what happened with the first one — I was asked not to go by the lawyers. Very much, they said, it’s demeaning. There was no evidence. There was no anything. So, I didn’t go. And I understood exactly what he meant when he said it was demeaning. There was no reason to go. You shouldn’t go. And I decided on this one — same judge, same judge. He’s a radical Trump hater.
“And I said, I will go to all days. So, what happened very terribly is we asked to delay the trial just for one day so I could go to the funeral tomorrow, and we could start Friday or Monday or anytime they want. And he said, ‘Absolutely not, the trial will go on just as it is. You can go to the funeral or the trial. You can’t do both,’” he continued.