Trump lawyers want him back on witness stand in E. Jean Carroll case

FILE - Republican former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night party, Jan. 23, 2024, in Nashua, N.H. Trump’s lawyers said Tuesday, March 5, that the ex-president deserves a new trial and a fresh chance to tell a jury why he berated writer E. Jean Carroll for her sex abuse claims against him after she revealed them five years ago. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

FILE – Republican former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night party, Jan. 23, 2024, in Nashua, N.H. Trump’s lawyers said Tuesday, March 5, that the ex-president deserves a new trial and a fresh chance to tell a jury why he berated writer E. Jean Carroll for her sex abuse claims against him after she revealed them five years ago. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s lawyers said Tuesday that the ex-president deserves a new trial and a fresh chance to tell a jury why he berated writer E. Jean Carroll for her sex abuse claims against him after she revealed them five years ago.

The lawyers made the assertion as they renewed challenges to the $83.3 million awarded to Carroll in January by a Manhattan jury.

The award raised to $88.3 million what Trump owes Carroll after another jury last May awarded $5 million to the longtime advice columnist after concluding that Trump sexually abused her in spring 1996 in the dressing room of a luxury department store in midtown Manhattan and then defamed her with comments in October 2022.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan had ordered the January jury to accept the findings of the earlier jury and only decide how much Trump owed Carroll for two statements he issued in 2019 after excerpts from Carroll’s memoir were published by a magazine. Carroll testified that the comments ruined her career and left her fearing for her life after she received threats from strangers online.

Trump did not attend the May trial but was a regular fixture at this year’s trial, shaking his head repeatedly and grumbling loudly enough from his seat at the defense table that a prosecutor complained that jurors could hear him.

Kaplan, who threatened to ban him from the courtroom, severely limited testimony from the Republican frontrunner for president. Trump’s complaints about Carroll, 80, continued during the trial from the campaign trail, providing fresh exhibits for Carroll’s lawyers to show jurors.

“This Court’s erroneous decision to dramatically limit the scope of President Trump’s testimony almost certainly influenced the jury’s verdict, and thus a new trial is warranted,” the lawyers wrote.

Trump’s lawyers argued that Trump deserves to explain why he spoke as he did about Carroll.

The lawyers wrote that Trump had a range of compelling reasons to publicly deny Carroll’s claims.

“Indeed, it is virtually unthinkable that President Trump’s ‘sole’ and ‘one and only’ motive for making the challenged statements was that he simply wanted to harm Plaintiff — as opposed to wanting to defend his reputation, protect his family, and defend his Presidency,” they said.

In 2019, Trump derided Carroll, saying she was “totally lying” to sell a memoir and that he’d never met her, though a 1987 photo showed them and their then-spouses at a social event. He said the photo captured a moment when he was standing in a line. He also has called Carroll a “whack job” and said that she wasn’t “his type,” a reference that Carroll testified was meant to suggest she was too ugly to rape.

A lawyer for Carroll did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

AP U.S. News

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