Judge cites Trump verbal attacks, orders anonymous jury in rape defamation case
A federal judge cited former President Donald Trump’s history of verbally attacking people in the legal system in ruling that a jury will be anonymous in his upcoming civil trial.Trump has been sued for allegedly raping writer E. Jean Carroll in in the mid-1990s at a New York department store and for allegedly defaming her after she made her claim in a magazine article. Manhattan District Judge Lewis Kaplan noted that Trump’s recent calls for protests over a New York criminal investigation involving a hush-hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels were “perceived by some as an incitement to violence.”
US President Donald Trump attends the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast on February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images
Citing former President Donald Trump’s history of verbally attacking people in the legal system, a federal judge ruled Thursday that a jury will be anonymous in his upcoming civil trial for allegedly defaming a writer after she accused him for her rape.
“Mr. Trump has repeatedly attacked courts, judges, various law enforcement and other public officials, and even individual jurors in other cases,” Manhattan District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in his order.
Kaplan noted that Trump’s recent calls for public protest over his belief that he would soon be indicted in an unrelated criminal investigation in New York “has been perceived by some as an incitement to violence.” Trump in that investigation is being sought over a hush-hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
“If the jurors’ identities were to be revealed, there would be a high likelihood of unwanted media attention on the jurors, attempts to influence and/or harassment or worse of the jurors by supporters of Mr. Trump,” Kaplan wrote. .
Kaplan said he would keep the names, addresses and workplaces of potential jurors secret for the rape-libel trial, which is set to begin April 25.
Author E. Jean Carroll accuses Trump of defamation after she wrote a 2019 magazine article alleging that he raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman’s department store after a chance encounter there in the mid-1990s.
Her lawsuit also makes a claim for the alleged assault under a new New York law that temporarily tolls the statute of limitations on older rape and molestation claims.
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Trump denies the accusation, which was made when he was president. He claimed Carroll lied about it because she was motivated by political animosity and a desire to sell copies of a book detailing the alleged attack.
Neither Trump nor Carroll objected to Kaplan’s suggestion two weeks ago that the case be tried before an anonymous jury.
But the Associated Press news service and The Daily News in New York challenged the idea in a court filing, which cited the supposed right of public access to information about jurors.
In his ruling Thursday, Kaplan noted that Trump recently made critical statements about the forewoman of an Atlanta, Georgia, grand jury that heard evidence of his efforts to reverse his election loss last year. 2020 in that state, and a few years ago for chief person in his ally. Roger Stone’s criminal trial jury.
Kaplan also wrote that some of the 1,000 people arrested for the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol “have argued that their actions were attributable” to what was perceived “as instigation by Mr. Trump.”
The ruling noted that the upcoming trial in Carroll’s lawsuit is likely to receive even more media attention than the case has already received, and that Kaplan was obligated to consider the “potential effect on jurors.”
“And [the judge] cannot properly ignore the substantial risk that jurors selected to serve in this case will be affected by concerns that they may be the target of unwanted media attention, outside pressure, and retaliation and harassment by persons disaffected with any decision that can be reversed,” Kaplan wrote. .
Kaplan said the right to public access to jury information is not unqualified.
He ordered that the jurors selected for the trial be kept together during recess and lunch and sent to undisclosed locations, which will then leave to return to their homes each day.