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Donald Trump briefly testifies in E. Jean Carroll defamation trial

Journalist E. Jean Carroll (L) departs from the courthouse at the end of the day as the civil defamation trial against Donald Trump continues at Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday. Trump appeared in court and briefly testified. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Journalist E. Jean Carroll (L) departs from the courthouse at the end of the day as the civil defamation trial against Donald Trump continues at Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday. Trump appeared in court and briefly testified. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Former President Donald Trump testified briefly Thursday in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial.

The former president on Thursday again called her proven charges a hoax, and the judge struck it from the record.

Asked by Carroll's attorney if he stood by his prior deposition claims that Carroll's sexual abuse allegations were a hoax, he replied, "100%" and once again called her accusation false.

Without the jury present and before Trump took the stand, Judge Lewis Kaplan referenced a different jury last year that found Trump liable for sexually assaulting Carroll. He said the jury in that trial "unanimously concluded that he sexually assaulted her and his claim that he did not was false and defamatory."

As Trump testified, his lawyer Alina Habba asked him if still viewed Carroll's allegation as false.

Donald Trump briefly testified Thursday in the E. Jean Carroll damages trial, again calling her jury-proven charges false. Judge Lewis Kaplan struck his comments from the record. A Jan. 9 order from Kaplan barred Trump from testifying that he did not sexually assault Carroll or that she fabricated her account of the assault. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

"Yes, I did," Trump said. "She said something that I considered a false allegation, totally false." Judge Kaplan cut Trump off and said everything after 'yes I did' was stricken, too.

Judge Kaplan also warned Trump to keep his voice down while in the courtroom, asserting that he was interrupting the proceedings with comments away from the witness stand while Trump's attorney was talking.

The jury in the E. Jean Carroll (pictured) damages trial was sent home Thursday, with closing arguments set for Friday morning. Defendant and former president Donald Trump testified briefly. File Photo by Louis Lanzano/UPI
The jury in the E. Jean Carroll (pictured) damages trial was sent home Thursday, with closing arguments set for Friday morning. Defendant and former president Donald Trump testified briefly. File Photo by Louis Lanzano/UPI

Thursday's proceedings were to determine whether Carroll gets another $10 million plus unspecified punitive damages on top of the $5 million in defamation damages already awarded by a separate jury.

The judge sent the jury home and scheduled closing arguments for Friday morning.

Trump signaled his plans to testify in a flurry of posts on social media where he again alleged that Carroll falsely accused him of sexually assaulting her in the dressing room of a New York department story, despite having been found liable for both the abuse and for defaming her by publicly claiming she lied to sell copies of her memoir.

"I'm heading back to New York City for a trial based on False Accusations, from perhaps decades ago -- The woman has no idea when!" Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered that Trump was not to make such statements against Carroll in court Thursday.

"Mr. Trump is precluded from offering any testimony, evidence, or argument suggesting or implying that he did not sexually assault Ms. Carroll, that she fabricated her account of the assault, or that she had any motive to do so," the judge wrote in a Jan. 9 court filing.

Trump, however, when asked about his potential testimony before the trial indicated he would still deny having ever met Carroll.

"I'm going to explain I don't know who the hell she is," Trump told reporters.

Carroll's lawyer played portions of a Trump deposition for the jury Thursday where he calls the now-proven sexual abuse allegations a hoax and asserts that Carroll is not his type. During that deposition he also looked at a photo of Carroll and thought she was his ex-wife Marla Maples.

The jury was also shown some of Trump's Truth Social posts attacking her before they viewed the deposition excerpts.

During her earlier testimony Carroll reiterated that Trump assaulted her and lied about it, then went further to deny they had met at all, adding that she has "paid as dearly as possible" for publicly accusing Trump as her reputation has been damaged by his public comments which also subjected her to immediate and constant harassment by the former president's supporters.

Kaplan threatened to remove Trump, who had not been required to be present for Carroll's testimony, from the court after he was heard loudly complaining during Carroll's statements, calling the trial a "witch hunt" and a "con job."

The trial was delayed multiple times this week. It quickly adjourned Monday when Trump lawyer Alina Habba said she was sick after visiting relatives who later tested positive for COVID-19. Her co-counsel was also exposed and a juror left the trial after also feeling ill.

It was delayed again after Habba had requested a pause for Trump to travel to New Hampshire Tuesday for the state's GOP primary.

The trial was put on hold both Tuesday and Wednesday without clarification if it was in response to the illness concerns or Trump's campaign.