Former President Donald Trump’s anticipated testimony in a defamation trial regarding sexual assault claims made by writer E. Jean Carroll faced an unexpected delay on Monday.
A juror’s illness prompted a two-day postponement, with the trial set to resume on Wednesday. The court ordered COVID-19 tests for all jurors after one reported feeling unwell, causing disruptions not only due to health concerns but also impacting Trump’s legal team.
While Trump’s lawyers sought a delay citing one member’s health issues and the New Hampshire primary, where Trump is a Republican front-runner, there was no indication of Trump’s personal health concerns. The trial interruption occurred as one juror underwent COVID-19 testing due to reported symptoms. Trump’s attorney Alina Habba, despite negative test results, advocated for a delay, expressing reservations about proceeding with a reduced jury.
Trump’s testimony, now scheduled for Wednesday, is poised to provide him an opportunity, with certain limitations, to address Carroll’s allegations. However, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan has ruled against Trump asserting that Carroll fabricated her claims or was motivated by financial or political considerations. The trial dynamics unfolded against the backdrop of Trump’s vocal objections during Carroll’s testimony last week and his contentious interactions with the judge in a recent civil business fraud trial.
Trump’s legal challenges extend beyond the Carroll case, involving four criminal cases and an appeal of a prior $5 million defamation verdict in Carroll’s favor. As the trial resumes, Trump’s legal team faces strategic decisions, and the judge is urged to ensure Trump’s compliance with restrictions on testimony.
Carroll’s lawyers insist on Trump affirming understanding of the court’s limitations before testifying, citing concerns that he might attempt to turn the trial into a spectacle. With Trump juggling legal battles and a political campaign, his court appearances have become a platform for asserting persecution by Democrats.
While Trump is not obligated to attend or testify in the civil case, he chose to participate in the current trial, claiming bias from the judge. The trial’s complexities arise from Carroll’s divided defamation claims, leading to a second trial where she seeks over $10 million in damages. Despite Trump’s reluctance to attend the first trial, he has chosen a different approach in the ongoing legal proceedings, aiming to present a comprehensive defense in the face of substantial claims and public scrutiny.