Trump attends rape defamation case in New York

NEW YORK: Donald Trump went straight from his victory in the Republican Iowa caucuses to a New York courtroom Tuesday for the start of a defamation trial brought by writer E. Jean Carroll after an earlier jury found he had sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.
In court, the former US president did not make any statements, and he and Carroll avoided looking at each other while jurors were being selected, according to reporters allowed inside the courtroom.
But Trump continued attacking Carroll on his Truth Social platform, reposting a clip from an interview she gave to CNN and writing, “Can you believe I have to defend myself against this woman’s fake story?!”
Addressing supporters at a rally in New Hampshire later in the day, Trump said he planned to attend daily court proceedings in the “phony” case in New York over the next several days, while continuing campaigning.
“Early in the morning I go to a Biden witch hunt,” Trump said in the northeastern state, which will hold the nation’s second presidential nomination contest next Tuesday. “And then I come here in the afternoon, and I stop, we make speeches and we get the votes.”
The shocking defamation case, which would likely once have been enough to wreck any politician’s career, has had no visible impact on Trump’s bid to retake the White House — and if anything is boosting his standing with his party’s right wing.
Carroll, 80, is seeking more than $10 million in damages in the civil trial, alleging that Trump defamed her in 2019 when he was president and she had just come out with her allegation, saying she “is not my type.”
This is separate to a civil case last year where another New York jury found Trump liable for sexually assaulting Carroll in a department store dressing room in 1996 and subsequently defaming her in 2022, when he called her a “complete con job.”
In that case, the jury awarded Carroll $5 million in damages.
This is only one of many trials swirling over Trump’s head. He has been indicted in four criminal cases and faces 91 counts on allegations including his attempts to undermine the 2020 election which he lost to Joe Biden, taking stacks of top secret documents, and business fraud.
Trump has embraced his legal problems as evidence of a conspiracy theory in which a nebulous “deep state” is out to stop him from returning to power.
‘Rape’ finding
Despite the constant scandal, his fervent base of supporters proved its strength on Monday with an overwhelming victory in the Iowa caucuses to choose the Republican candidate who will face Biden on Election Day in November.
Trump has used previous trial appearances to seize the limelight and deliver invective-filled speeches — both outside courthouses and, when allowed to speak by the judge, on the witness stand. He has also used social media posts to issue crude insults against court personnel.
The judge in Tuesday’s trial, Lewis Kaplan, has issued strict instructions to curtail Trump.
Carroll says that in 1996, Trump assaulted her against the wall of a Manhattan department store dressing room — and the previous civil jury agreed.
Kaplan stated unambiguously that Trump had “sexually abused — indeed, raped — Ms. Carroll” and that the Republican cannot now claim otherwise in court.
Carroll’s lawyers last week urged Kaplan to prevent Trump from making “inadmissible, prejudicial” comments in court.
Last week, the former president continued to insist that he had “no idea” who Carroll was, calling her “a wack job” and saying the trial was “rigged.”
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