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Judge denies Trump bid to delay rape trial after his lawyers accuse LinkedIn co-founder of funding accuser

Judge denies Trump bid to delay rape trial after his lawyers accuse LinkedIn co-founder of funding accuser

Donald Trump’s request to delay his civil rape trial brought by E Jean Carroll has been denied by Judge Lewis Kaplan, but he is being permitted to question Ms Carroll under oath about the funder behind the lawsuit.

On Thursday Judge Kaplan said Mr Trump and his team could question Ms Carroll after it was revealed that the co-founder of LinkedIn, and harsh critic of Mr Trump, Reid Hoffman, was helping pay for the lawsuit Ms Carroll filed against Mr Trump.

Mr Hoffman’s financial support of Ms Carroll’s lawsuit was disclosed in a letter to Judge Kaplan on 13 April.

Mr Trump’s lawyers said Mr Hoffman is the “primary backer” of a nonprofit group called American Future Republic, which provides third-party funding to legal efforts.

Mr Trump’s lawyers asked for the delay so they could investigate Mr Hoffman’s involvement. They accused Ms Carroll’s attorneys of failing to disclose Mr Hoffman’s funding, which raised “significant questions” about her credibility, The New York Times reported.

This is the second time Mr Trump’s team requested a delay.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump’s team asked Judge Kaplan to postpone the trial due to the media frenzy surrounding his recent indictment by the Manhattan DA. Mr Trump’s lawyers claimed the high-profile indictment would make the trial unfair.

However, Judge Kaplan declined to delay the trial.

Instead, the judge ruled that Ms Carroll could face “a brief and carefully circumscribed examination of that narrow question” from Mr Trump’s lawyers about Mr Hoffman’s involvement.

Mr Hoffman is a billionaire entrepreneur known for supporting Democratic candidates according to his list of contributions on Open Secrets. Mr Hoffman has openly opposed Mr Trump on Twitter as well.

Ms Carroll’s lawyers argue that Mr Hoffman’s financial support was “irrelevant” to Ms Carroll’s legal claims, according to The New York Times.

Her lawyers claim the funding for the lawsuit came nearly a year after Ms Carroll filed the first of the two lawsuits against Mr Trump.

Ms Carroll first filed a defamation suit against Mr Trump in 2019, several months after coming forward with allegations that Mr Trump sexually assaulted her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s.

Mr Trump denied the allegation and claimed Ms Carroll was “lying” and not his “type.”

Then, after New York enacted a law that allows sexual assault survivors to file a civil suit even after the statute of limitations has expired, Ms Carroll sued Mr Trump again for battery.

Judge Kaplan said he will determine later on whether the issue of Mr Hoffman’s financial backing could be raised at the trial, according to CNBC.

The trial is scheduled to begin on 25 April in the US District Court in Manhattan.