Watch CBS News

Trump lawyer seeking monthlong delay in trial over rape claim, citing "deluge of prejudicial media coverage" of Trump's indictment

Former Pres. Trump due in NYC for deposition Thursday
Former Pres. Trump due in NYC for deposition Thursday 03:14

An attorney for former President Donald Trump is seeking a one-month delay in the trial regarding a columnist's claims that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s, contending that his client's right to a fair trial depends on a "cooling off" period following the former president's indictment and arraignment.

The trial was set for April 25. In a letter Tuesday to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, attorney Joseph Tacopina argued for a delay, citing "the recent deluge of prejudicial media coverage" surrounding Trump's arrest and court appearance in a separate case. The former president was charged March 30 with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, stemming from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's investigation into the circumstances of a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels made by Trump's former attorney and "fixer" Michael Cohen in the days before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied any sexual encounter with Daniels and any wrongdoing in the case. 

The civil case before Kaplan was brought against Trump in November by E. Jean Carroll, a columnist who says the wealthy real estate developer raped her in early 1996 after a chance meeting at the Bergdorf Goodman department store.

Trump has repeatedly and emphatically denied the allegation. A jury will be asked to decide whether the rape occurred and if Trump defamed Carroll with his comments.

A temporary state law that took effect last year allows adult rape victims to sue their abusers, even if attacks happened decades ago.

Tacopina alleged in the letter that since Trump first posted last month that he would be arrested, media coverage of the former coverage has spiked 200%, and said searches related to the Carroll cases had also increased. 

Trump Legal Troubles Key People
Joseph Tacopina speaks during a news conference in September 2021. Hans Pennink / AP

"The indictment therefore drove a more four-fold increase of coverage in this case, which reflects the predictable and troubling tendancy to view the criminal allegations against President Trump as relevant to Ms. Carroll's allegations in this civil action," Tacopina wrote. 

Tacopina's letter seeking a delay in the trial for Carroll's civil suit followed Kaplan's order on Monday directing parties in the case to notify him by April 20 whether they will be present throughout the trial in Manhattan federal court. 

Carroll's attorney has said she will attend; Trump's attorney has not responded to requests for comment on Kaplan's order.

Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said a response to the request for a delay will be filed in a letter to the judge. (The lawyer and the judge aren't related.)

Two sources told CBS News that Trump is set to return to New York City on Thursday to sit for a deposition in yet another case in the Lower Manhattan offices of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, whose office sued him and others in September. In the New York Attorney General's civil case, Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization are accused of orchestrating an extensive fraudulent scheme. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.