A federal judge threatened to throw former President Donald Trump out of court Wednesday amid a civil defamation trial against him.
During the trial, Trump made repeated overheard comments to the jury, including claiming that the case was a “witch hunt,” said attorney E. Gene Carroll, an author who is suing Trump over disparaging comments he made during his presidency.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, presiding over the case, issued a sharp rebuke to Trump after complaints from Carroll's lawyers that Trump's muttering during Carroll's testimony could sway the jury.
Trump's comments in court echoed his previous statements about the case, including a 2023 video in which he called the previous trial against Carroll a “witch hunt” and a “disgrace.”
Kaplan, a federal judge since 1994, oversaw a previous trial in which a jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million for sexual assault and defamation. In the current trial, Carroll is seeking at least $10 million in damages.
During the lunch break, Trump's lawyers asked Kaplan to step down, citing the judge's “general hostility” toward the defense, but Kaplan refused the request.
Carroll testified about the impact of Trump's comments, saying they destroyed his world. She stated that she is now known as “a liar, a fraud, and a crazy person” because of Trump’s statements. Carroll also highlighted receiving insulting comments and threats on social media following Trump's verbal accusations.
Kaplan had already ruled that Trump's comments about Carroll while he was president were defamatory, leaving it up to a jury to decide what compensation to pay. Trump continued to attack Carroll on social media and denigrated Kaplan in his posts.
Trump's lawyer, Alina Haba, questioned Carroll about the attention he received after Trump's accusation, suggesting that Carroll took advantage of the publicity. Carol responded that it was important for women to speak up and overcome judgement, noting that she did not want to remain silent.
Carroll's testimony will continue Thursday.
With information from the website Politician
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