Donald Trump undecided on attending rape defamation trial

Donald Trump undecided on attending rape defamation trial

Donald Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, has told a federal judge that the former president has yet to decide if he will attend his upcoming rape defamation trial. Trump is facing accusations from writer E. Jean Carroll that he raped her in a department store in the 1990s and then defamed her when she went public with her story. The trial is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Manhattan next Tuesday, but Trump has not made a commitment to attend. Tacopina said that the decision “will be made during the course of the trial,” and for that reason, they are not yet able to advise the court. Tacopina also mentioned that there are logistical concerns that will need to be addressed in coordination with the Secret Service, the Marshals Service, and the City of New York.

Request to spare logistical burdens rejected

Carroll’s lawyer has noted that her client plans to attend the entire trial and testify under oath before the jury. However, if Trump does not show up to the trial, Tacopina has requested that the jury be told that the former president’s absence would be sparing “logistical burdens” on the courthouse and New York City. The judge ultimately rejected this request, writing that “there shall be no reference by counsel for Mr. Trump in the presence of the jury panel or the trial jury to Mr. Trump’s alleged desire to testify or to the burdens that any absence on his part allegedly might spare, or might have spared, the Court or the City of New York.”

Both parties’ lawyers have noted that Trump has recently traveled to New York for separate legal matters. Earlier this month, he was arrested and arraigned on dozens of charges of falsifying business records in connection to hush money payments made before the 2016 presidential election. Tacopina, who is also defending Trump in that case, cited the spectacle caused by his arraignment to bolster his argument that it may be too difficult for him to show up for Carroll’s trial. However, Carroll’s lawyer pointed out that Trump has also recently come to Manhattan to sit for a deposition with the New York Attorney General’s office and is scheduled to travel to New Hampshire for a campaign event in late April. She argued that if he can attend those events, then he could certainly attend his own federal trial.

Carroll’s lawsuit alleges that Trump raped her in a dressing room of the New York City department store Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. Trump has denied the accusations, calling them lies and saying that Carroll is not his type.


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