Donald Trump was aggravated by his lawyer’s advice that he not appear in person during the last E. Jean Carroll trial — so much so that he is attending this week’s trial to determine damages in the second case in which he was found to have defamed the writer, and may even testify, ABC New reported.
He’s so committed, in fact, that rather than stick around in Iowa too late on Monday night to revel in his landslide caucus victory, he spoke at his victory party briefly and headed to New York so he could appear at the trial that began Tuesday. Since then, he’s done little but irritate the judge overseeing the trial, which will determine how much he owes Carroll for defaming her after she accused him of raping her in a dressing room at a Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s.
The judge was so irritated that he threatened to kick Trump out this afternoon.
At least twice during Wednesday’s proceedings, lawyers for Carroll complained to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that Trump was making remarks loud enough for the jury to hear him while Carroll testified, calling the whole case “a witch hunt” and remarking “it really is a con job.”
After Carroll’s lawyer complained that the jury could likely hear the former president’s mutterings, Kaplan warned Trump.
“Mr. Trump has the right to be present here. That right can be forfeited, and it can be forfeited if he is disruptive, which is what has been reported to me,” he said.
“Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial,” he continued, speaking directly to Trump, according to reporters in the room. “I understand you are probably very eager for me to do that.”
There was a back and forth after that. Per Politico:
At that point, Trump threw up his hands, saying, “I would love it. I would love it.”
“I know you would. I know you would,” Kaplan replied. “You just can’t control yourself in this circumstance, apparently.”
Trump shot back: “You can’t either.”
During the first Carroll trial that Kaplan oversaw — in which the jury determined Trump must pay Carroll $5 million in damages after it was found Trump sexually abused and defamed her — Kaplan got Trump’s lawyers to talk to the former president about not making public statements, including social media posts, while the trial was ongoing.
Per ABC News’ piece on Kaplan’s reputation as a “no-nonsense” judge:
And when Trump attempted to intervene in the trial with public statements, Kaplan was able to get Trump to stop commenting on the trial while it was ongoing.
“What you’re trying to do is to get away from a statement by your client, a public statement, that on the face of it seems entirely inappropriate,” Kaplan advised Trump’s then-lawyer Joe Tacopina.
“I will speak to my client and ask him to refrain from any posts about this case,” Tacopina promised.
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