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E Jean Carroll lawyers warn Trump wants to ‘sow chaos’ ahead of court showdown

Ahead of the start of the E Jean Carroll civil trial against Donald Trump, lawyers for Ms Carroll are asking the New York City judge overseeing the case to prevent the former president from disputing the facts of the case to the jury.

“If Mr Trump appears at this trial, whether as a witness or otherwise, his recent statements and behavior strongly suggest that he will seek to sow chaos,” Roberta Kaplan, an attorney for Ms Carroll said in a filing on Friday.

Citing Mr Trump’s tangent from closing arguments in his civil fraud trial, Ms Kaplan told Judge Lewis Kaplan that should Mr Trump be given time to speak freely he would possibly speak on “inadmissible, prejudicial or otherwise improper information”.

The case, which is set to begin on Tuesday, is to determine how much Mr Trump owes Ms Carroll in damages for defaming her in 2019 after she came forward with accusations of rape.

It is related to the other defamation case that went to trial last year in which a jury determined the former president was liable for sexual abuse and defamation when he made statements denying he assaulted her in 2022. The jury awarded Ms Carroll $5 million in damages for that.

Former US President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the New York State Supreme Court during the civil fraud trial against the Trump Organization, in New York City on January 11, 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)
Former US President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the New York State Supreme Court during the civil fraud trial against the Trump Organization, in New York City on January 11, 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

But despite the jury’s findings, Mr Trump has continued to deny knowing Ms Carroll, defended himself against accusations that he sexually abused and defamed her and suggested Ms Carroll had ulterior motives in filing her lawsuit against him.

Even on Thursday, the former president told reporters he planned to attend the trial to “explain I don’t know who the hell [Ms Carroll] is.”

Already, Judge Kaplan has warned Mr Trump’s lawyers they cannot present legal arguments that contradict the jury’s finding of sexual abuse and defamation; But Ms Carroll’s lawyer is asking Judge Kaplan to take it a step further by placing measures to prevent Mr Trump from speaking challenges to the jury.

The measure includes asking Mr Trump to swear under oath in open court, but without the presence of the jury, that he understands the facts of the case: he sexually assaulted Ms Carroll, spoke falsely with actual malice and lied when accusing her of fabricating her account.

E Jean Carroll lawyers warn Trump wants to ‘sow chaos’ ahead of trial ((AFP/Getty))
E Jean Carroll lawyers warn Trump wants to ‘sow chaos’ ahead of trial ((AFP/Getty))

Ms Kaplan is asking that anything Mr Trump would testify about be provided in advance of his testimony.

Should he not do so, Ms Kaplan suggested the court could hold Mr Trump or his counsel in contempt, issue punitive fines or prevent Mr Trump from testifying further.

She warned Judge Kaplan that the former president “may well perceive a benefit in seeking to poison these proceedings” despite the jury being only asked to determine the amount in damages.