Writer E. Jean Carroll testified Wednesday in the second day of her second defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, who is voluntarily attending the civil trial in federal court in Manhattan and may testify this time. Trump’s audible comments and theatrical gestures Wednesday earned him two warnings from U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, including a threat to throw him out of court.
“I’m here because Donald Trump assaulted me and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened,” Carroll said. “He lied and he shattered my reputation” as a journalist, “and now I’m known as the ‘liar,’ the ‘fraud’ and the ‘whack job.'”
A separate federal jury already found Trump liable for sexually assaulting Carroll in the 1990s and defaming her in 2022, and ordered Trump to pay her $5 million. This trial will decide how much more Trump will have to pay her for comments he made in 2019. Carroll is asking for $10 million plus punitive damages.
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After Carroll’s lawyers told Kaplan that Trump was still making comments like “witch hunt” and “con job” that could be heard by the jury, the judge warned that Trump’s “right to be present here” can “be forfeited if he is disruptive” and “disregards court orders.”
“Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial,” Kaplan told him. “I understand you are probably very eager for me to do that.” Trump, throwing up his hands, said, “I would love it.” “I know you would,” Kaplan agreed. “You just can’t control yourself in this circumstance, apparently.” “You can’t either,” Trump muttered.
After Trump’s “blowup” with Kaplan, “there were no further admonishments, but the former president continued to look visibly irritated” as his lawyer Alina Habba was repeatedly overruled in her cross-examination of Carroll, The Washington Post reported. Kaplan also “scolded Habba” for not standing up to make an objection and other “issues involving courtroom decorum, including when he admonished her repeatedly on Wednesday for improperly trying to introduce exhibits and suggested she use a break in the action to ‘refresh your memory’ about the trial procedure.”
It was “glaringly obvious” on Wednesday that Habba “doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing,” legal analyst Katie Phang said on MSNBC. “She does not have the requisite trial skills to be defending the former president of the United States in a multimillion-dollar defamation trial, and yet you get what your pay for.”
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