A judge has rejected Donald Trump’s request to delay his upcoming civil rape trial, admonishing him for being partly to blame for bringing attention to his legal troubles.
Lawyers for the former US president sought a one-month postponement of the rape case – brought by author E. Jean Carroll – to be held in federal court in New York on April 25 as a ‘cooling off’ period following his arraignment on separate criminal charges.
They claimed that the adverse publicity surrounding the arraignment on April 4 for falsifying business records hampered Trump’s ability to get a fair trial.
But Judge Lewis Kaplan flatly rejected the idea and said that ‘it does not sit well’ for Trump to ‘promote pretrial publicity and then claim the coverage he promoted was prejudicial to him.’
The decision to deny any delay comes days after lawyers for E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of raping her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990’s, secretly staged a test trial in a Manhattan hotel to determine how their upcoming civil case will play out with everyday New Yorkers.
After six hours of testimony last month, the 27 mock jurors were separated into three groups for deliberations.
Two out of three found Trump guilty.
In his decision, Judge Kaplan said that the coverage around Trump’s criminal case was ‘significantly (though certainly not entirely) invited or provoked by (his) own actions’.
The judge appeared to be referring to social media posts by Trump, which included him posting a photo of him holding a baseball bat against the head of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
In his 10-page ruling, Judge Kaplan said there was ‘no justification for an adjournment’ and that the rape case was ‘entirely unrelated’ to the criminal case.
The judge wrote: ‘The suggestion that the recent media coverage of the New York indictment – coverage significantly (though certainly not entirely) invited or provoked by Mr. Trump’s own actions – would preclude selection of a fair and impartial jury on April 25 is pure speculation’.
According to Judge Kaplan, ‘at least some portion’ of the torrent of media coverage ‘was of his own doing’.
During Trump’s criminal arraignment, prosecutors highlighted many of Trump’s social media posts attacking the case.
Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the hush money case, ordered Trump to cool his rhetoric, but hours later he did the opposite and claimed Judge Merchan hated him.
In his ruling, Judge Kaplan said: ‘There has been no shortage of recent news articles focused on Mr Trump’s own public statements on his social media platform and in press conferences and interviews he has given about his indictment.
‘It does not sit well for Mr. Trump to promote pretrial publicity and then to claim that coverage that he promoted was prejudicial to him and should be taken into account as supporting a further delay’.
In the mock trial held last month, videotaped deposition interviews from both Trump and Carroll, as well as two friends she spoke with in the immediate aftermath of the alleged rape, and two other women who claim Trump also sexually assaulted them.
The lawyers also presented text messages and emails that Trump’s defense team is expected to present at trial to try to undermine Carroll’s credibility.
‘That was the whole point of this,’ a person familiar with the proceedings told DailyMail.com. ‘They were trying to figure if Mrs. Carroll has a solid case and if she will win in civil court.’
Carroll, a former advice columnist for Elle Magazine, has accused Trump of raping her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. She made her allegations during his presidency and filed two civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and defamation.