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Former US President Donald Trump | Credits: AP Photo
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Trump heads to court for second round in E. Jean Carroll lawsuit

United States: Another Trail awaits former President Donald Trump after his win in the Iowa caucus on Tuesday, a trial to determine how much more he owes the writer E. Jean Carroll. 

Opening arguments could begin by the afternoon in what amounts to a second penalty phase in a legal battle Carroll has already won. On Tuesday morning, the selection for the Jury will begin in Manhattan.

Unresolved Issues

In May, a different jury awarded Carroll $5 million after determining that Trump sexually harassed her in a department store dressing room in spring 1996, then defamed her in 2022 by alleging she made it up after she reported it publicly in a 2019 memoir. The Jury determined that Carroll had not shown that Trump raped her.

One thing that was not resolved during the first trial was how much Trump owes for remarks he made about Carroll while still president.

Last year, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan concluded that the new Jury did not need to decide whether Carroll was sexually molested or if Trump’s words about her were libelous because those issues were addressed in the previous trial.

Trump’s Participation and Restrictions

Trump is due to be at the trial on Tuesday, but his intentions for the remainder of the week have become unclear, given his mother-in-law’s funeral is slated for Thursday. The trial is scheduled to take a few days.

He has stated that he wishes to testify, but if he does, there will be significant restrictions on what he may discuss. He declined to attend last year’s trial, citing new advice from his lawyer.

Judicial Caution and Prohibitions

Because the trial is supposed to focus solely on how much Trump owes Carroll, the judge has warned Trump and his lawyers not to say anything to jurors that he has said on the campaign trail or elsewhere, such as suggesting she lied about him to promote her memoir.

Kaplan also prohibited them from discussing Carroll’s “past romantic relationships, sexual disposition, and prior sexual experiences,” from claiming Trump did not sexually abuse Carroll, or from implying she was motivated by “a political agenda, financial interests, mental illness, or otherwise.”

E Jean Carroll | Credits: Getty Images

The judge also prohibited them from making any argument that contradicted the court’s conclusion that “Mr. Trump, with actual malice, lied about sexually assaulting Ms. Carroll.”

Trump’s Social Media Activity

These prohibitions do not apply outside of the presence of the Jury. That has allowed Trump to continue posting on social media about all of the topics above, as he has done several times in recent days, despite the fact that each new denial may result in more damage.

Kaplan denied Trump’s plea to postpone the trial for a week but said he would allow Trump to speak as late as Monday if the trial is otherwise ready for closing arguments by Thursday.

Dueling Narratives

Carroll, 80, intends to testify about the damage to her career and reputation caused by Trump’s public pronouncements. She is seeking $10 million in compensation damages and millions more in punitive penalties.

Trump, 77, is appealing the Jury’s decision from last year and has maintained that he does not know Carroll, that he never met her at the Bergdorf Goodman shop in midtown Manhattan in the spring of 1996, and that Carroll made up her accusations to sell her book and for political purposes.

Regardless of his legal setbacks, Trump leads all Republicans in presidential primary polls and intends to spend a significant amount of time in court litigating the civil and criminal lawsuits against him, saying, “In a way, I guess you consider it part of the campaign.”

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