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End of upcoming E. Jean Carroll trial can be delayed so Trump can testify, judge rules

Trump's court cases overshadowing Iowa caucuses
Trump's court cases overshadowing Iowa caucuses 02:46

Former President Donald Trump may be given an additional opportunity to testify in the second E. Jean Carroll defamation trial days after his defense lawyers rest their case, the judge in the case said Sunday.

Trump's lawyer Alina Habba had requested that the defamation trial, which is scheduled to begin Tuesday, be adjourned for a week because the former president said he would be traveling to Florida on Wednesday and Thursday for his mother-in-law's funeral. Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote that a delay "would disrupt and inconvenience prospective jurors, counsel, court staff, and security arrangements."

After the request was rejected, Trump's presidential campaign announced that he will hold a rally in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Jan. 23, on Wednesday night.

Subsequent filings showed Carroll's attorneys opposed the request from the start, citing his history of seeking trial delays.

Donald Trump Holds Presidential Campaign Event In Indianola, Iowa
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at Simpson College on January 14, 2024 in Indianola, Iowa.  Scott Olson / Getty Images

Roberta Kaplan, an attorney for Carroll, wrote in an email to Habba "any delay would be severely prejudicial," that Trump was "near certain to assert scheduling conflicts again" and that he is still defaming Carroll on "a near-daily basis" in connection with his campaign. She also proposed the accommodation that the court agreed to — allowing Trump to testify on Jan. 22, six days after his mother-in-law's funeral.

Carroll's attorney pointed out in a separate filing that Trump's request for the weeklong adjournment made no mention of a campaign event Trump planned for the evening of Jan. 17 in New Hampshire.

Trump was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation of Carroll at a separate trial last May, and the judge repeatedly extended deadlines to accommodate Trump's schedule and allow him to testify. Trump did not. Kaplan continued that precedent Saturday, offering to delay the end of the trial if Trump wants to come to court on Monday, Jan. 22 to testify. It is unclear if Trump will accept the offer, which would mean being in New York the day before the Republican primary in New Hampshire.

Carroll was awarded $5 million by a federal jury after last year's trial. Kaplan has already ruled that inherent in that jury's verdict finding Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation was the conclusion that another statement made by Trump in 2019 was made with "actual malice." 

That statement, in which Trump accused her of lying about sexually abusing Carroll during a 1990s encounter in a New York City department store, is the focus of this week's trial. But this trial will center on what further damages Carroll is owed. Trump has denied the allegation of sexual abuse and denies defaming Carroll.

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