Judge Kaplan Deals Another Blow to Donald Trump in Defamation Case

A federal court on Thursday denied former President Trump’s plea to postpone the $83.3 million judgment in advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit, refusing to grant Trump extra time to post a bond with the deadline just a few days away.

The former president and GOP presidential candidate has attempted to postpone the verdicts in both Carroll’s lawsuit and the New York attorney general’s vast fraud prosecution, with Trump facing hundreds of millions of dollars in fines across the two civil lawsuits.

Trump suffers a defeat as a result of Thursday’s verdict, which maintains default provisions that allow the judgment in Carroll’s case to be enforced as early as next week, thereby making it Trump’s bond posting deadline.

“Mr. Trump’s current situation is a result of his own dilatory actions,” U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan stated in his decision.

A federal jury in New York ordered Trump to pay the eight-figure sum for defaming Carroll by dismissing her allegation when she came forward in 2019 accusing the then-president of sexual assault decades before. Last year, a second jury held Trump responsible for sexually assaulting the advice writer.

However, there are a number of evidentiary problems that make the sexual assault claim very problematic. Ms. Carroll waited 23 years to bring the lawsuit. She could only bring the lawsuit after New York implemented a temporary reprieve on the statute of limitations, specifically so Carroll could bring her case. She does not remember any details about how the alleged sexual assault happened that can be corroborated. She has also contradicted herself in her testimony, mentioning a dress that she wore that had not been available at the time. She also seems to have modeled her story after a Law & Order episode.

Thus, Donald Trump has not been criminally convicted, but is instead being compelled to pay an award to Ms. Carroll. Trump’s bail amount is expected to be $91.63 million as he appeals the January conviction.

In recent days, Trump has filed papers seeking a new trial or a reduction in damages. Trump had asked Kaplan, who was nominated to the bench by former President Clinton, to postpone the judgment until 30 days after the judge rules on the motions or decrease the bail sum to $24.475 million.

Kaplan has not yet decided on the delay request, but on Thursday, the court dismissed Trump’s most recent plea for an administrative stay to postpone Saturday’s deadline.

“This is the continuation of a totally lawless witch hunt,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement. “President Trump filed a timely motion to stay the ridiculous judgment, and many courts, including the Second Circuit, recognize the importance of temporary administrative stays while such motions are pending.” We look forward to continuing to pursue the lawsuit and achieving full vindication of the truth.”

Carroll’s attorneys rejected the former president’s plea to postpone the decision or lessen his bail amount, citing worries that Trump would not pay up.

“He simply asks the Court to ‘trust me’ and offers, in a case with a $83.3 million judgment against him, the court filing equivalent of a paper napkin; signed by the least trustworthy of borrowers,” they stated in their letter to the judge.

Trump’s attorneys said that Carroll’s team had highlighted to the jury Trump’s own assertions about the amount of his fortune, a technique intended to increase the overall damages.

Carroll’s lawyers were taking a “fast-and-loose approach to the facts,” according to Trump attorneys Alina Habba and D. John Sauer.

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Sauer was appointed as a counsel on the matter after the trial. Sauer is also defending Trump in his presidential immunity defense against federal election subversion allegations, as well as his appeal of a gag order imposed in that case.

By Melinda Davies
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