E. Jean Carroll seeks limits on Trump testimony after his courtroom tirade

NEW YORK — E. Jean Carroll’s attorneys on Friday asked a federal judge to give Donald Trump strict warnings about what grounds he must avoid if he chooses to testify at a trial next week to determine what damages are owed for defamation claims.

The letter to U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan seeking firm restrictions cited Trump’s hijacking of summations yesterday in another lawsuit, a $370 million civil case brought by the New York attorney general against the ex-president and his company for allegedly committing a decade-long fraud beginning in 2011.

Trump has said he will appear at the Carroll trial, but it is not clear if he plans to testify.

The trial is about damages for defamatory comments he made about Carroll in 2019 when she came forward with a decades-old sexual assault allegation. Trump has already been found liable for those comments, and so he cannot make his first court appearance in the case to re-litigate it, Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan wrote.

Trump accuser E. Jean Carroll wins liability claims in next civil case

“Mr. Trump cannot testify that he did not sexually assault Ms. Carroll … that he did not rape her, or did not know her, or had never seen her before,” wrote Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, citing past Trump remarks.

The damages trial is expected to start on Tuesday with jury selection. Carroll was already awarded $5 million in separate case against Trump for sexual abuse and for separate but related defamation claims. That verdict is being appealed.

Because all testimony in the upcoming trial will only examine what harm was inflicted on Carroll, “it is not clear, at least to us, what Mr. Trump could permissibly testify to given these limitations,” Kaplan added, noting that he could use the trial to try to score political points.

Trump is currently the leading front-runner for the Republican ticket for president in this year’s election.

At his sentencing in New York Supreme Court on Thursday in his case, Trump was supposed to be blocked from making his own closing arguments, in addition to the arguments his attorneys were making, because he would not commit to sticking to the issues in the case.

Trump assails his fraud trial in courtroom speech as case winds down

When his attorney Christopher Kise made one more last minute pitch to allow Trump to speak without such a commitment, the judge Arthur Engoron asked Trump directly if he could promise to play by his rules, which were standard trial procedure.

Instead, Trump ignored the question and launched into a nonstop tirade for at least five minutes about the process and the attorney general being biased and unfair. He insisted that the lawsuit was punishment from a political foe and that comments along those lines were fair game because the civil allegations were unfairly brought.

“It takes little imagination to think that Mr. Trump is gearing up for a similar performance here — only this time, in front of a jury,” Kaplan said in her letter, citing the transcription of Thursday’s proceeding. Kaplan has asked the judge in the Carroll case to warn Trump of any possible consequences to ignoring court ordered-limitations on admissibility and proper procedure.

An attorney for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the new request by Carroll. Trump’s legal team must reply to the request in writing by 9 a.m. Sunday.

Trump denies ever having known Carroll and has accused her of lying, suggesting he would not have been sexually interested in her because she was “not my type.”

The former president, who has four pending criminal indictments, maintains his innocence in all legal matters including the attorney general’s civil case, which could prohibit his ability to do business in New York. He has already been found liable in that case for committing fraud broadly, lying about his wealth by up to $2.2 billion annually.

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