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Judge In Trump Defamation Trial Tells Jurors To Never Admit They Were On Jury


U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan surprised observers in federal court by offering a suggestion to jurors who determined that former President Donald Trump is liable for $83.3 million in damages to E. Jean Carroll.

“My advice to you is that you never disclose that you were on this jury, and I won’t say anything more about it,” Kaplan said after the verdict was read. “And I won’t say anything more about it.”

Kaplan’s proposal was unconventional.

Judges have cautioned jurors that although they are allowed to communicate with the media after high-profile trials, it might not be advantageous for them. Kaplan’s remarks, as reported by Business Insider, were seen by some as biased against Trump and his team.

Throughout the trial, Kaplan engaged in several intense confrontations with Trump’s legal team. On a particular occasion, the judge even warned Alina Habba, Trump’s lawyer, about potential imprisonment.

According to MSNBC’s Katie Phang:

Trump’s lawyers try to use slides of tweets that weren’t entered into evidence and Carroll objects.
Judge: You’re not showing the slide.

Habba: But, your Honor…

Judge: Sit down. You are on the verge of spending some time in the lock-up.

“Trump walked out of the courtroom during Carroll’s lawyer’s closing arguments in which her lawyer Roberta Kaplan directly criticized his actions during the trial saying that he ‘spent the entire trial continuing to engage in defamation,’” reported NBC News.

“Kaplan noted the incident in the record,” the report noted further.

During the civil trial on Thursday, Trump took the stand for a short period to give his testimony.

As reported by courtroom journalists, Habba questioned Trump about his continued denial of the alleged sexual assault by Carroll, to which he confirmed. When asked if he disputed the accusations, Trump replied with a firm “Precisely correct.”

“She said something. I consider it a false accusation,” he said, an answer Kaplan struck from the record, citing the previous trial’s verdict that Trump had, in fact, sexually abused Carroll — and the judge’s specific rulings that Trump was barred from trying to re-litigate that issue in this trial.

Habba then asked if Trump wanted to hurt Carroll, to which he replied, “No. I wanted to defend myself, my family, and frankly, the presidency.” Kaplan also struck that from the record.

According to legal reporter Adam Klasfeld, Trump “sneered at the spectators in the gallery” on his way out of the courtroom and said, “It’s not America. It’s not America. This is not America.”

Kaplan rebuked Trump for his loud and disruptive behavior while his attorney was testifying, stating, “I have never met this woman.”

Last week, CNN reported a clash between Trump’s lawyer and spokeswoman with Judge Lewis Kaplan, who was appointed by Clinton. The disagreement arose when Habba requested a trial delay so that Trump could attend his mother-in-law’s funeral.

Despite Habba persisting on a temporary adjournment to accommodate Trump later, Kaplan rejected her claims. He asserted that the trial schedule had already been established and made it clear that he would not entertain any further arguments on the matter.

During the intense hearing, Kaplan and Trump engaged in several exchanges.

At a certain juncture, Kaplan cautioned Trump that if he persisted in belittling Carroll to his attorneys during the trial, he would risk losing his court privileges.

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Joe Messina

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