NEW YORK — Donald Trump asked a US judge to delay the scheduled April 25 trial over whether he defamed former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll by denying he raped her, citing the recent “deluge of prejudicial media coverage” of criminal charges against him.
In a Tuesday (April 11) night letter to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, Trump’s lawyers said a four-week “cooling off” period to at least May 23 was necessary to guarantee the former US president’s right to a fair trial in Carroll’s case.
Absent a delay, “many, if not most, prospective jurors will have the criminal allegations top of mind when judging President Trump’s defence against Ms Carroll’s allegations,” Trump’s lawyers Joe Tacopina and Alina Habba said in the letter.
On April 4, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, in a case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Those charges concerned Trump’s alleged concealment of a US$130,000 (S$173,141) hush money payment to buy Daniels’ silence before the 2016 election about the porn star’s alleged affair with him, which he denies.
Carroll is seeking damages over Trump’s denial in an October 2022 post on his Truth Social media platform that he raped her in late 1995 or early 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan.
She is also suing Trump for battery over the alleged encounter, which Trump has also said never happened.
In his post, Trump said he did not know Carroll, that she made up the rape claim to promote her memoir, and that the claim was a “hoax,” “lie,” “con job” and “complete scam.”
Carroll has long accused Trump of stalling to keep jurors from hearing her case.
The 79-year-old also sued Trump for defamation in November 2019 over his similar denial of her rape claim five months earlier. That case is still pending.
Trump’s lawyers said holding a trial, expected to last several days, between May 23 and an Aug 8 deadline to file all motions in the criminal case would result in a jury “far more likely to be impartial.”
The case is Carroll v Trump, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-10016.