July 18, 2024

Trump departs New York court amidst closing argument in sex assault defamation trial


Former President Donald Trump hastily exited a New York courtroom on Friday as the jury listened to concluding arguments regarding the compensation sought by E. Jean Carroll, a woman Trump was previously found to have sexually assaulted and defamed.

Seeking over $10 million in damages, Carroll’s defamation case against Trump is unfolding in a federal court in New York, with the court’s jurisdiction limited to imposing civil penalties rather than criminal convictions.

Following the closing arguments, during which Trump’s presence is not mandatory, the jury will commence deliberations on the potential damages to be awarded. Trump, aged 77, briefly took the stand on Thursday to refute allegations of instructing harm to Carroll through his statements. Judge Lewis Kaplan restricted Trump’s testimony to three yes-or-no questions from his lawyers to maintain focus on the case.

Leaving the courtroom after his brief appearance, Trump declared, “This is not America.” Although not obligated to attend or testify, Trump has leveraged the trial, along with other legal battles he faces, to garner media attention and bolster claims of victimization while actively campaigning for a White House return in the upcoming November election.

Apart from this defamation case, Trump confronts multiple criminal charges, including allegations of attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and a civil business fraud case. Carroll, aged 80, contends that Trump defamed her in 2019 by stating she “is not my type” when she first publicly disclosed her assault allegations.

In recent developments, Trump launched a barrage of attacks against Carroll on his Truth Social platform, denying the authenticity of her evidence in 37 messages. Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, unsuccessfully sought to dismiss the case, arguing that threatening messages targeting Carroll on social media predated Trump’s 2019 comments.

During the trial, tensions escalated when jurors were presented with Trump’s October 2022 deposition, where he confused a picture of Carroll for his former wife Marla Maples. Carroll’s legal team raised concerns about Trump’s audible comments during her testimony, prompting the judge to caution him and even contemplate ejecting him from the courtroom.

Last year, a federal jury found Trump liable for assaulting Carroll in 1996 and defaming her in 2022. Despite these legal challenges, Trump actively participated in court proceedings while simultaneously campaigning, demonstrating the intersection of legal battles and political ambitions.

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