Trump could be called to testify in E. Jean Carroll sex defamation trial

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends jury selection in the second civil trial after Carroll accused Trump of raping her decades ago, at Manhattan Federal Court in New York City, U.S., January 16, 2024 in this courtroom sketch.

Jane Rosenberg | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump is expected to testify Thursday in writer E. Jean Carroll’s civil defamation case against him.

Trump was initially set to take the witness stand Monday in Manhattan federal court, but the trial was postponed after a juror called in sick.

Presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan gave Trump’s attorney Alina Habba the chance to continue the case that day with eight jurors instead of nine, but Habba declined, telling Kaplan she was also feeling ill.

The resumption of the case, which was delayed for three days, also marked the return of Trump’s courtroom-centric presidential campaign strategy.

Trump explicitly tied his campaign to his legal troubles in a Truth Social post Wednesday night, announcing his travel to New York City on the heels of his victory in New Hampshire’s Republican primary.

E. Jean Carroll walks outside Manhattan Federal Court, for the second civil trial after she accused former U.S. President Donald Trump of raping her decades ago, in New York City, U.S., January 25, 2024. 

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

The former president in recent weeks has appeared at a number of his active civil and criminal cases, even when he was not required to do so, drawing heavy media attention and new fundraising opportunities for his campaign.

Trump has decried all of his legal battles as witch hunts, claiming that they are being orchestrated by the Biden administration to hurt his 2024 presidential bid.

But a jury in a related civil case last year already found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll in a department store in the 1990s and then defaming her in denying her allegation in late 2022.

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That jury ordered Trump to pay $5 million to Carroll. Trump is appealing the verdict.

The trial resuming Thursday is being held solely to determine how much Trump must pay Carroll in damages, since Kaplan determined that the question of whether Trump defamed Carroll had already been established.

Carroll’s lawyers are seeking at least $10 million from Trump in this case.

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

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