Trump legal counsel asks for delay in E Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit

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Former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina addresses the media following court proceedings in September 2021, in Schoharie, New York. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Trump legal counsel asks for delay in E Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit

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Former President Donald Trump is looking to push back his other legal scandals in the wake of an indictment from a Manhattan grand jury, asking a New York court to delay a defamation lawsuit brought by former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll.

Carroll accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s and later sued him after he claimed she lied about the allegations. In March, Trump and Carroll agreed to combine two defamation lawsuits that she filed against him into one single trial, which is currently set to begin on April 25.

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However, in light of the Manhattan indictment related to hush money payments between the former president and adult film star Stormy Daniels, attorney Joe Tacopina asked U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan to postpone the trial for four weeks. Tacopina argued in a letter filed late Tuesday that the surge in media exposure of Trump’s indictment has tainted jurors in the upcoming civil case.

“President Trump’s right to a fair trial depends upon a brief ‘cooling off’ period between the trial of this matter and the recent deluge of prejudicial media coverage concerning his unprecedented criminal indictment and arraignment in Manhattan,” Tacopina wrote. “Holding the trial in this case a mere three weeks after these historic events will guarantee that many, if not most, prospective jurors will have the criminal allegations top of mind when judging President Trump against Ms. Carroll’s allegations.”

Tacopina cited media coverage statistics, arguing that interest in Trump surged by over 200%, pointing to approximately 211,000 articles referencing Trump’s indictment, based on Google search results. He asked Kaplan to consider a trial date for no earlier than May 23.

It is unclear whether Kaplan will agree to uphold Tacopina’s request. He recently backed a bid to grant the jurors in the defamation case anonymity, given the increase in threats deriving from Trump’s indictment, particularly toward Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the judge overseeing the grand jury.

Other legal woes are hovering over Trump as well. Many people are holding their breath as they wait for District Attorney Fani Willis out of Fulton County, Georgia, to release criminal charges against several Trump allies and aides and possibly the former president himself.

The Fulton County grand jury spent over a year interviewing witnesses and gathering testimony, eventually releasing a small portion of the final report that indicated one or more witnesses may have committed perjury in their attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Since the report’s release, supporters and opponents of Trump have been waiting for an indictment to arrive, for which Willis said decisions are “imminent.”

At the federal level, special counsel Jack Smith is intensifying his investigation into Trump’s actions during and after the 2020 election that led to a riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Smith also is reaching the final stages of his investigation into classified documents discovered at Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago in August 2022.

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Tacopina only mentioned the Manhattan indictment in his letter, omitting any reference to media coverage surrounding the classified documents or 2020 election investigations.

“An adjournment is not merely consistent with justice; it is required by justice and President Trump’s right to an impartial jury,” Tacopina wrote. “President Trump can only receive a fair trial in a calmer media environment than the one created by the New York County District Attorney.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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