E. Jean Carroll defamation case: Trump expected to attend trial Wednesday, sources say

(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is on trial this week in New York City to determine whether he will have to pay former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll additional damages for defaming her in 2019 when he denied her allegations of sexual assault.

Last year, in a separate trial, a jury determined that Trump was liable for sexually assaulting Carroll in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, and that he defamed her in a 2022 social media post by calling her allegations “a Hoax and a lie” and saying “This woman is not my type!”

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and has said he doesn’t know who Carroll is.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Jan 16, 8:30 PM
Trump expected to attend trial Wednesday, sources say

Former President Trump, who was campaigning in New Hampshire Tuesday evening, is expected to return to New York to attend the second day of his defamation trial on Wednesday, sources tell ABC News.

Trump is then scheduled to return to New Hampshire later Wednesday.

Jan 16, 6:02 PM
Trial is ‘straight out of banana republic,’ says Trump attorney

Donald Trump’s legal counsel Boris Epshteyn briefly spoke to reporters outside court at the conclusion of Tuesday’s proceedings, calling the trial “straight out of [a] banana republic.”

“Manhattan is 90-95% Democrat,” Epshteyn said, despite voter registration records showing the borough is about 70% Democratic. “Does anybody think the President will get a fair trial here? Absolutely not,” he said.

Despite a jury last year finding Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll, Epshteyn alleged that Carroll is making “false accusations.”

“President Trump has consistently stated that he did not commit the allegation and did not commit the acts that the plaintiff alleges. He has been steadfast in that. And it is right to defend himself from false accusations,” Epshteyn said.

Epshteyn declined to comment on whether Trump plans to attend court tomorrow.

Carroll did not speak to reporters when she left court.

Jan 16, 4:52 PM
Carroll seeking a ‘windfall’ over ‘mean Tweets,’ Trump attorney says

E. Jean Carroll is looking for a “windfall” over a series of “mean Tweets from Twitter trolls,” Trump attorney Alina Habba said during the defense’s opening statement, in which Habba sought to cast doubt on the severity of the alleged harm Carroll said she endured.

Habba told the jury they do not have to believe Carroll’s account of how she has suffered as a result of Trump’s defamatory statements.

“Her career has prospered and she has been thrust back into the limelight like she has always wanted,” Habba said, accusing Carroll of using her story “to obtain as much fame and notoriety as possible.”

The defense framed Carroll’s lawsuit as nothing more than an attempt to shake down Trump for money over scores of critical Tweets that have nothing to do with the defamatory statements by Trump that are at issue in the trial.

“She expects you as the jury to give her an award for every negative comment that was thrown her way,” Habba said. “She is looking for you to give her a windfall because some people on social media said mean things about her.”

Habba showed a photo of Carroll in the company of Trump critic Kathy Griffin and said Carroll is close with another critic of the former president, his niece Mary Trump.

“This is someone who craves fame and seeks fame wherever she can get it,” Habba said. “She got what she wanted.”

The proceedings were dismissed for the day after both sides concluded their opening statements. The trial will resume Wednesday with the first witness in the case.

Jan 16, 4:00 PM
Trump ‘unleashed his followers,’ Carroll’s attorney says

Donald Trump’s lies about E. Jean Carroll “unleashed his followers to go after her,” and as Trump campaigns for president he “continues to lie about Ms. Carroll,” Carroll’s attorney said in her opening statement.

“How much money will it take to make him stop?” Carroll’s attorney, Shawn Crowley, said. “He kept up those very same lies even after a federal jury sat in this courtroom and unanimously found that he sexually assaulted her and defamed her.”

Crowley reminded the jury that Trump “was president when he made those statements and he used the world’s biggest microphone to humiliate her” — the result of which was that he “wrecked” Carroll’s reputation in a matter of days, Crowley said.

“Donald Trump’s response was swift and brutal,” Crowley said. “Donald Trump did not just deny the assault. He went much, much further.”

She quoted Trump’s statements from June 22, 2019: “‘People should pay dearly for making up accusations” about him.

Crowley also quoted Trump saying “she’s not my type” on that day in 2019. “In other words, she was too ugly to assault. She must have been lying because she was too unattractive for Mr. Trump to sexually assault,” Crowley said.

Carroll, who is now 80, sat at the plaintiff’s table as her attorney showed the jury messages Trump’s followers posted calling her ugly and urging her to kill herself.

“When Donald Trump called Ms. Carroll a fraud and a liar, they listened and they believed and they decided to go after her,” Crowley said. “Donald Trump knew exactly what he was unleashing.”

Jan 16, 3:40 PM
‘This is not a do-over,’ judge instructs jury

Judge Lewis Kaplan told the nine jurors that they must accept as true that Trump forcibly sexually assaulted E. Jean Carroll and defamed her when he denied it.

“Ms. Carroll did not make up her claim of forcible sexual abuse,” Judge Kaplan told the panel. “His false statements tended to disparage Ms. Carroll or tended to expose her to hatred or to induce an unsavory opinion of her.”

The judge made it clear the jury was only determining damages related to two defamatory statements Trump made in June 2019 when he denied Carroll’s rape allegation. He said the trial was not an opportunity to re-litigate the prior trial, in which a jury found Trump liable for defamation and sexual assault.

“This trial is not a do-over of the previous trial which determined those facts,” Kaplan said.

Jan 16, 3:18 PM
Trump departs before opening statements

Former President Trump has departed Manhattan federal court prior to the delivery of opening statements in his defamation damages trial.

Trump voluntarily showed up to court for jury selection this morning, and did not return after the lunch break. He has a campaign event scheduled later today in New Hampshire.

His attorney suggested Trump would return to court for at least part of tomorrow’s proceedings, when E. Jean Carroll is expected to be the first witness.

The jury has been sworn in, with opening statements to begin following instructions from the judge.

Jan 16, 2:08 PM
2 election deniers don’t make cut as jury is seated

A jury of nine has been selected to hear the evidence in the case.

One juror is a married father of two grown children who works in the subway system. and said he is an avid local news viewer. Another juror is a German native who emigrated to the United States and said she does not watch the news.

The jury also includes a newlywed who works in property management and gets his news from social media, a woman with a master’s degree who works as a publicist for a tech firm, and a single man who works in television.

Two people who said they believed that the election was stolen from Donald Trump by President Joe Biden did not make the jury. Nor did a man who said he believed Trump was being treated unfairly by the United States court system.

Opening arguments will begin follow the lunch break. As they exited the courtroom, Trump and Carroll came within feet of each other but appeared to ignore one another.

Jan 16, 12:11 PM
Prospective jurors questioned about political leanings

Former President Trump has been twisting and turning in his seat at the defense table as prospective jurors answer the judge’s questions about their political affiliations, voting habits, campaign donations, and any experience with sexual assault — and whether they ever watched The Apprentice or read E. Jean Carroll’s advice column in Elle magazine.

As another columnist was known to say, “Only in New York, kids.”

One prospective juror, number 68, affirmed that he donated to Trump’s campaign, followed him on social media, and believed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump by President Joe Biden.

Prospective juror 63 was excused after he said that his knowledge of Trump’s criminal indictments — of which there are four that the former president is currently facing — would impact his ability to be fair and impartial.

The majority of prospective jurors signaled they were registered to vote, prompting the judge to ask if they had voted in 2016 and 2020. Trump turned to look at those who answered in the affirmative.

Three prospective jurors said they had donated to Trump’s campaign. Eleven said they donated to either the Obama, Clinton or Biden campaigns. At least ten watched The Apprentice.

Jan 16, 11:32 AM
Judge explains case to prospective jurors

Judge Kaplan explained the case to prospective jurors, saying, “Ms. Carroll sued Mr. Trump for defamation for certain statements he made” shortly after she publicly accused him of raping her.

“This trial is limited to the issue of the money damages, if any, that Ms. Carroll should receive for those publications. The reason that’s so is that the court determined in a previous decision that Mr. Trump is liable,” Kaplan said. “It has been determined already that Mr. Trump did sexually assault Ms. Carroll.”

To whittle down the jury pool, Kaplan began with this question: “Having heard what you have heard about this case so far, would you be unable to give both sides a fair trial and to decide this case solely on the basis of the evidence you hear during this trial and the instructions I give you?”

Three prospective jurors were immediately excused for signaling they could not be fair.

One woman said she worked for Ivanka Trump’s company from 2017 to 2018. “Would that experience have any effect on your ability to be fair and impartial to both sides in this case?” Judge Kaplan asked regarding her connection to Trump’s eldest daughter. “No,” the woman replied.

After the judge asked if anyone else had worked for Trump or his family, a man indicated he was an officer in the U.S. Navy while Trump was commander in chief. The man said it would have no impact on his ability to be fair.

Jan 16, 11:23 AM
Prospective jurors enter courtroom to begin selection process

As prospective jurors filed into the courtroom for jury selection, Donald Trump surveyed the group. One woman appeared to smile upon recognizing Trump. A man leaned forward and appeared to stare for several seconds.

“You’ve been summoned for possible service in a civil case,” Judge Kaplan said before introducing the plaintiff and defendant. “This case is between a writer, advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, and former President Donald Trump,” he said.

Jurors were told the case is expected to last three to five days and that they would sit through Thursday and, if necessary, return on Monday. They were also told they will be anonymous.

“That means neither your names nor the names of the jurors who are ultimately selected will be made public,” Judge Kaplan said. He had earlier cited Trump’s rhetoric as among the reasons for the anonymous jury.

Jurors will assemble daily at an off-site location and be driven to court under guard, the judge said.

“This is for your own protection. As you may understand, this case has attracted media attention and that’s likely to continue,” Kaplan said.

Jan 16, 10:40 AM
Layout of courtroom has Trump sitting 2 tables behind Carroll

Unlike courtrooms where the counsel tables are arranged side by side, the counsel tables in the courtroom this morning are arranged behind one another, with Trump and his attorneys seated two tables behind Carroll and her counsel.

Trump appeared to take note of that arrangement when he entered the courtroom.

He appeared to point at Carroll, then he and his team asked a man seated at the table between them to slide over — possibly to block Trump’s view of Carroll, or to provide a better view of the proceedings.

Jan 16, 10:27 AM
Judge again declines to delay trial

On Friday, Judge Kaplan denied a request from Trump’s attorneys to postpone the trial for a week so Trump could attend Thursday’s funeral of Amalija Knavs, the mother of former first lady Melania Trump, who died last Tuesday after a long health battle.

In court this morning, Trump attorney Alina Habba repeated her request for an adjournment so Trump can attend Knavs’ funeral.

“You asked me for a week’s adjournment and I denied it,” Judge Kaplan said. “The repetition is not accomplishing anything.”

The judge said Friday that he would grant a continuance so the trial, which was initially scheduled to conclude this week, would be extended so Trump could testify on Monday, Jan. 22.

Jan 16, 10:12 AM
Defense lodges several objections as court gets underway

“The court has made a number of rulings precluding evidence and argument,” said Judge Lewis Kaplan as court got underway, asking each side’s lead attorney to affirm that the parties understood the rules.

The defense objected, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction. Kaplan quickly dispensed with the objection, saying, “Overruled.” Kaplan, who has a reputation as a no-nonsense judge, also overruled several other defense objections.

“I do think these are issues that will become an issue on appeal. We still don’t know what witnesses are coming in and which aren’t,” Trump attorney Alina Habba said, before Kaplan interrupted, saying, “Ms. Habba you have had a witness list for months.”

Habba pressed on, with Kaplan noting her objections.

“I have heard you, I have considered what you have to say and I have ruled,” Judge Kaplan said.

Jan 16, 9:56 AM
Trump seated in courtroom

Donald Trump has taken a seat in court, where jury selection in his defamation trial is scheduled to get underway this morning.

His decision to attend this trial is a clear shift for the former president, whose lawyers portrayed his absence from last year’s defamation and battery trial as a service to New York City, saying the city would not have to suffer the “logistical and financial burdens” of Trump’s attendance.

Carroll’s attorneys, however, pounced on Trump’s absence.

“He didn’t even bother to show up here in person,” attorney Roberta Kaplan told the jury.

Writing on social media last month, Trump blamed his absence at the trial on “not good advice” from his then-lawyer Joe Tacopina.

“I was asked by my lawyer not to attend–‘It was beneath me, and they have no case.’ That was not good advice,” Trump wrote.

Trump attorney Alina Habba is serving as Trump’s lead defense attorney for this week’s trial.

Jan 16, 9:21 AM
Carroll arrives for trial

E. Jean Carroll has arrived at the courthouse for the first day of the trial.

She smiled to reporters as she entered court.

Jan 16, 9:03 AM
Trump arrives at courthouse

Following his victory in Iowa, former President Trump landed at 3:30 a.m. in New York and just arrived at his civil defamation trial in lower Manhattan.

Trump is not required to attend the trial, though his decision not to attend last year’s defamation and battery trial by the same plaintiff, writer E. Jean Carroll, was mocked by Carroll’s attorney.

Trump’s motorcade pulled up to the courthouse this morning at at 8:50 a.m. ET.

Jan 16, 8:51 AM
On heels of Iowa victory, Trump is back on trial

When Donald Trump’s federal defamation trial gets underway in lower Manhattan this morning, it will be only about 11 hours since the former president claimed victory in the Iowa caucuses.

The trial is expected to take about a week, which could take Trump right to the doorstep of the New Hampshire Primary, scheduled for next Tuesday.

Trump has said that he plans to attend the trial at some point during the week, but has not indicted when.

The former president did not attend last year’s trial, held at the same courthouse, where a New York jury found him liable for sexually assaulting E. Jean Carroll and defaming her when he denied her accusation in a 2022 social media post.

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