Trump motion to declare mistrial in E. Jean Carroll lawsuit denied

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan on Monday denied a motion by former President Donald Trump’s lawyers to declare a mistrial the civil battery and defamation lawsuit against him that was brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. 

In a letter filed early Monday, Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina alleged Kaplan had made “pervasive unfair and prejudicial rulings” against the former president.

Carroll is suing the former president, alleging he raped her in the 1990s and then defamed her when she came forward in 2019. Trump has denied the allegations.

Carroll testified last week that “Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen.”

Tacopina asked the to judge dismiss the lawsuit, or as an alternative, “correct the record for each and every instance in which the Court has mischaracterized the facts of this case to the Jury” and “allow the Defendant’s counsel to have greater latitude to cross-examine Plaintiff and her witnesses.” 

Courtesy Jane Rosenberg

Tacopina’s letter accused Kaplan of having “bolstered” Carroll’s testimony by improperly sustaining objections to some of Tacopina’s questions of Carroll, and said a potential upcoming witness should be barred from testifying. He said what Carroll’s attorneys and Kaplan deemed as “argumentative” questions were actually in accordance with “well-established and accepted” methods of cross-examination.

Many of the sustained objections arose when Tacopina questioned Carroll about her account of the alleged attack, questioning her testimony that she did not scream, and expressing doubt about Carroll’s testimony that the department store, Bergdorf Goodman, was relatively empty at the time of the attack. 

Tacopina also cited a statement made by Carroll during her testimony in which she said that Trump accused her of being “a democratic operative,” and asked the judge to conclude that she opened the door to being questioned about financial support for Carroll’s litigation against Trump she previously received from a billionaire entrepreneur who has frequently donated to Democratic causes. Kaplan previously barred Tacopina from bringing up the entrepreneur, Reid Hoffman. 

Carroll has alleged that Trump sexually assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman store in either 1995 or 1996. The civil trial stems from a lawsuit filed in November 2022, after New York passed a law that eliminated for one year the statute of limitations for adults who claim they were sexually assaulted. A previous lawsuit filed by Carroll in 2019 is still pending.

 “He shattered my reputation,” Carroll testified last week.