Trump Tries to Derail Rape Defamation Trial With Indictment Excuse
Donald Trump’s legal team says the saturation press coverage of his criminal case against him in Manhattan means he can’t get a fair trial in the defamation case against him filed by E. Jean Carroll — at least for now. But attorneys for Carroll say that the former president is stoking the media circus with fake mugshot merchandise and interviews about the case.
Late Tuesday, the former president’s attorney Joe Tacopina filed a motion asking for a month-long “cooling off” period before the defamation trial begins and jurors are selected. Going forward with the scheduled April 25 trial date, he argued in the court filing, would “guarantee” that potential jurors “will have the criminal allegations top of mind.”
But Carroll’s lawyers hit back in a motion filed Wednesday urging Judge Lewis Kaplan to stick to the scheduled trial date. “The Constitution does not excuse Trump from standing trial on a sexual assault claim just because the national media has once again revisited longstanding reports about his assorted extra-marital affairs,” Carroll’s attorney Robert Kaplan wrote.
Carroll alleges that Trump raped her in a New York department store in the mid 1990s and then defamed her when he called her allegations a “hoax” and “scam” and denied that he had ever known or met her in a 2022 Truth Social posting and statement distributed to the press. Trump has denied the allegations.
Kaplan noted that Trump’s attorneys had filed their motion complaining about coverage of the trial “less than two hours” after their client appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show and mentioned the case. In a dig at the Trump campaign’s fundraising off of the criminal case, Carroll’s attorneys noted that “the first seven items in his political campaign’s store include fake mugshots from the Manhattan DA indictment.”
In his filing, Tacopina said that waiting a month provided a “window” before the early August deadline for filings in his criminal case, which could produce a jury that is “far more likely to be impartial than the one recently inundated with prejudicial media coverage” of Trump’s criminal case.
Trump allies and supporters have repeatedly made similar arguments, claiming that Manhattan’s liberal leanings and media density make a fair trial of him in the hush money criminal case impossible. But legal experts say those arguments are unlikely to sway a judge.
Attorneys for Trump and Carroll produced dueling sets of Google data in an attempt to capture the state of Manhattan’s current interest level in the Trump criminal case. Tacopina cited what he called a 200 percent increase in Trump coverage surrounding his New York arraignment and 211,000 articles returned in a recent Google search for “Donald Trump indictment.” Kaplan instead pointed to Google trends data which allegedly shows that interest in the subject of Trump “is now roughly even with pre-indictment levels.”
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