Trump seeks delay of civil trial in E. Jean Carroll defamation suit

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Former President Donald Trump is hoping a federal appeals court will slam the brakes on a fast-approaching defamation trial brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who alleges he sexually abused her in the 1990s, a claim Trump denies.  

In a 29-page filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, Trump’s attorneys asked for the start of the trial, currently set for Jan. 16, to be delayed by up to 90 days. His lawyers said they need more time to weigh legal moves, including potentially asking the Supreme Court to review his claim of presidential immunity in the case.

Carroll sued Trump in 2019 for comments he made that year while he was president denying her allegations. In May, a federal jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a different lawsuit brought by Carroll, which included a separate claim related to comments he made after losing the presidency. She was awarded $5 million by the jury.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled in September that Trump defamed Carroll in his 2019 comments, and the upcoming trial will determine the damages Carroll is owed due to those comments.

The federal appeals court previously rejected Trump’s assertion of presidential immunity in the lawsuit that is still pending, saying he made the claim too late into the litigation.

In their filing Friday, Trump’s attorneys said they are considering appealing that ruling to the Supreme Court. They also highlighted Trump’s criminal case in Washington, noting that special counsel Jack Smith has separately asked the Supreme Court to consider the immunity issue in that matter. Trump faces four charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and remain in power. He has pleaded not guilty.

Smith has asked the justices to bypass a federal appeals court and quickly decide whether Trump is protected from criminal charges by presidential immunity. Trump’s attorneys in the Carroll matter said an eventual decision could impact Trump’s civil case, which they said supports their request for a delay.

“The significance of these issues is illustrated by, among other things, last week’s filings with the Supreme Court by Special Counsel Jack Smith regarding President Trump’s presidential immunity appeal arising from a criminal case in the District of Columbia,” Trump’s attorneys wrote. “That case is stayed pending resolution of the appeal, as this case should be, and the possibility that the Supreme Court may soon address President Trump’s immunity further supports the requested stays.”

Carroll’s attorney declined to comment.

Trump has denied the allegations in both Carroll cases, as well as the criminal case in Washington. He has accused Carroll, Smith and others, of pursuing claims against him out of political animus.



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