Trump Demands New Trial in E. Jean Carroll Case

He complains he couldn't defend himself, penalty is too high
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2024 7:37 AM CST
Trump Demands New Trial in E. Jean Carroll Case
E. Jean Carroll leaves Manhattan federal court, Oct. 23, 2023, in New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

Former President Trump says he deserves a new trial in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case because he wasn't able to defend himself. Trump briefly testified during the January trial that focused on the damages to be awarded to Carroll for defamatory statements Trump made as president, but was forbidden to deny the sexual assault or the defamatory statements as another jury had previously found him liable. Judge Lewis Kaplan said Trump was to speak only about matters directly before the court, and struck from the record his comment stating, "I just wanted to defend myself, my family, and frankly, the presidency."

"This Court's erroneous decision to dramatically limit the scope of President Trump's testimony almost certainly influenced the jury's verdict, and thus a new trial is warranted," Trump's lawyers say in new court filings, per CNN. They claim Kaplan made errors both in stopping Trump from testifying about "his own state of mind" and in giving an "erroneous jury instruction on the definition of common-law malice," CNN reports. They also argue the jury's award of more than $83 million for Carroll is too high.

They say $7.3 million awarded for emotional harm and other damages should be reduced to $125,000 or less because the harm to Carroll was "garden variety," per CNN. They also claim the $11 million awarded for damage to Carroll's reputation is "excessive" compared with the $1.7 million reward in the 2023 jury verdict and $65 million in punitive damages is "grossly excessive." They instead propose a 1:1 ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages. "Kaplan has previously rejected many of the arguments" put forth by the Trump team on Tuesday, per the Hill. Carroll described one of the arguments as "laughable" in response, per CNN.

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Trump, who owes some $454 million from his New York civil fraud case, has separately asked Kaplan to delay enforcement of the $83.3 million judgment for 30 days after the judge resolves post-trial motions or permit a reduced bond of $24.475 million, per ABC News. In opposing the request, Carroll noted Trump has not shown he can actually afford the payment, per CNN. In a Monday statement, Kaplan said a decision on the request "will be rendered as promptly as is reasonably possible," per the Hill. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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