Trump testimony in doubt after sick juror postpones E. Jean Carroll trial
Donald Trump wants to testify in writer E. Jean Carroll’s latest civil defamation case, but his ability to do so was in doubt after the presiding judge on Monday postponed the trial because one juror and a parent of one of Trump’s lawyers became ill.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan sent one of the nine jurors home to get a Covid-19 test after the juror reported feeling “hot and nauseous”.
Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba separately reported having developed a fever after dining on Friday with her parents, at least one of whom has contracted Covid-19. She and her co-counsel, Michael Madaio, tested negative for Covid-19 on Monday.
The trial concerns Trump’s June 2019 denials of Carroll’s claim that he raped her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan.
A different jury last May ordered Trump to pay the former Elle magazine advice columnist $5 million over a similar October 2022 denial.
Kaplan has ruled that the first trial established that Trump defamed and sexually abused Carroll. The only issue for jurors in the second trial is how much money Trump should pay Carroll, if any. She is seeking at least $10m.
Trump has consistently denied that anything happened and accused Carroll of making up their encounter to boost sales of her then-new memoir. He is appealing the $5m verdict.
Habba asked Kaplan to let Trump testify on Wednesday so that he could be in New Hampshire on Tuesday for the state’s Republican presidential primary.
Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, opposed the request, saying she was nearly done presenting her case.
“We think we should finish tomorrow,” Kaplan said.
The judge said he will decide later whether Trump can testify.
“Circumstances may result in your getting what you ask for, and maybe not,” he told Habba.
Judge Kaplan separately denied Trump’s request for a mistrial, which arose from Carroll’s testifying that she destroyed emailed death threats she received after first accusing Trump of rape.
Trump did not attend Carroll’s first trial and attended jury selection and the first full day of her second trial.
He is not required to testify, and Carroll’s lawyers have argued he might try to “sow chaos” if he did, perhaps believing that doing so would help him.
Last Wednesday, Judge Kaplan warned Trump he might be ejected for being disruptive in the courtroom after a lawyer for Carroll said jurors might have overheard Trump loudly proclaim the trial a “witch hunt” and “con job.”
“I would love it,” Trump said.
“I know you would,” Kaplan replied.