June 16, 2024 6:57 am

Donald Trump and writer E Jean Carroll head to court for another trial

A Manhattan jury will hear arguments this week on how much former US president Donald Trump should pay a writer who accused him of rape.

This is the second time he will face former Elle magazine columnist E Jean Carroll in court.

A jury already found he sexually assaulted and defamed the writer, awarding her $5m (£3.9m) last year.

This trial, starting on Tuesday, focuses on separate statements that Mr Trump made in June 2019.

That was directly after Ms Carroll first accused him of rape in a New York magazine piece.

At the time, Mr Trump said her claim was “totally false”. He also alleged that he had never heard of Ms Carroll and that she had invented the story to sell her memoir.

A jury found in May that Mr Trump is liable for sexually abusing her and for defamation, after he called her accusations “a hoax and a lie”.

However, the jury did not find Mr Trump liable for raping Ms Carroll in the dressing room of department store Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s, as she had alleged.

In the aftermath of the first trial, Judge Lewis Kaplan – who is overseeing this second defamation trial – ruled that Ms Carroll does not need to prove again that Mr Trump made defamatory comments against her.

Therefore, this second trial will only focus on determining damages owed to her. Ms Carroll is seeking $10m in compensation for harm to her reputation.

Mr Trump has signalled that he wants to testify, but Judge Kaplan has issued a stern warning to the former president.

“Mr Trump is precluded from offering any testimony, evidence or argument suggesting or implying that he did not sexually assault Ms Carroll, that she fabricated her account of the assault or that she had any motive to do so,” Judge Kaplan wrote in an opinion earlier this month.

Ms Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan (who is not related to Judge Kaplan), has said that Mr Trump will attempt to “sow chaos” with his testimony. She has asked that he state under oath that he understands the limits of what he can say.

“There are any number of reasons why Mr Trump might perceive a personal or political benefit from intentionally turning this trial into a circus,” she wrote in a memo to Judge Kaplan.

In response, Mr Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said the former president is “well aware” of the court’s ruling and “the strict confines placed on his testimony”.

The second trial comes as Mr Trump loses the services of lawyer Joe Tacopina, who represented him in a Manhattan case related to hush payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Mr Tacopina announced his withdrawal in a notice sent on Monday to the judge in the hush-money case.

Mr Tacopina also represented Mr Trump in the first trial brought by Ms Carroll. His withdrawal means he will no longer oversee Mr Trump’s appeal of that trial’s verdict.

The former president is facing a long string of other legal woes, including state and federal charges related to his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election results, as well as his handling of classified documents.

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