Court Battles

Trump asks to postpone defamation and sexual battery trial after indictment

Former President Trump’s attorneys have asked for a four-week delay in a defamation and sexual battery lawsuit brought by author E. Jean Carroll, citing the media coverage surrounding Trump’s indictment.

The trial is currently slated to begin on April 25, but Trump’s lawyers said prospective jurors would have the recent indictment top of mind when judging the former president’s defense.

 “President Trump’s right to a fair trial depends upon a brief ‘cooling off’ period between the trial of this matter and the recent deluge of prejudicial media coverage concerning his unprecedented criminal indictment and arraignment in Manhattan,” wrote Trump’s attorneys Alina Habba and Joe Tacopina.

Carroll has accused Trump during his presidency of raping her in the mid-1990s at a New York department store. Trump has repeatedly denied Carroll’s claims.

She first filed a defamation lawsuit against the then-president in 2020 for statements he made about casting doubt on her claims and credibility. That case will likely turn on whether Trump’s statements were made within the scope of his employment as president, which would effectively protect him from the lawsuit. 

In a second lawsuit, which is the one currently scheduled for trial this month, Carroll included an allegation of defamation made after Trump’s presidency. The case also sues Trump over the alleged assault itself by leveraging a New York law that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations. 

“The threat to President Trump’s rights is particularly dire because the coverage of the indictment has repeated a salacious and false allegations—exactly what Ms. Carroll alleges in this case,” Trump’s attorneys wrote. 

“Jurors selected to hear Ms. Carroll’s allegations against President Trump will have the breathless coverage of President Trump’s alleged extra-marital affair with Stormy Daniels still ringing in their ears if trial goes forward as scheduled,” their letter continued. “To avoid this egregious violation of President Trump’s constitutional rights, the trial should be adjourned for a brief period to allow the media frenzy to recede.”

Tacopina and Habba said a trial beginning in late May would take place during a two-month window in which there is not expected to be significant developments or new headlines in Trump’s criminal case, since Trump’s legal team is not required to file their motions until Aug. 8.

Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, becoming the first former U.S. president to be indicted. Carroll’s trial is set to take place down the street from where Trump was arraigned in Lower Manhattan.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump indictment E. Jean Carroll E. Jean Carroll

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