The federal judge presiding over the sexual assault case against former President Donald Trump has issued a ruling in his favor, but with a caveat.
According to the New York Post, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan ruled on Thursday that the former president is not required to attend the trial, but he cannot use averting “burdens” on the city as an excuse for his absence.
Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, had requested that the jurors be informed that Trump’s absence was due to his desire to avoid “logistical burdens.” Kaplan made this decision in response.
The Post reported that Tacopina’s proposed jury instructions, submitted a day earlier, requested that the judge tell the jurors: “While no litigant is required to appear in a civil trial, the absence of the defendant in this matter, by design, avoids the logistical burdens that his presence, as the former president, would cause the courthouse and New York City.”
“Accordingly, his presence is excused unless and until he is called by either party to testify,” the request noted further.
However, Kaplan, a Clinton appointee, ruled that Trump’s legal team cannot use the argument of prospective “burdens” if the former president decides not to attend the trial, at least for the time being.
“Mr. Trump is free to attend, to testify, or both. He is free also to do none of those things,” Kaplan wrote in the one-page order.
“In the meantime, there shall be no reference by counsel for Mr. Trump in the presence of the jury panel or the trial jury to Mr. Trump’s alleged desire to testify or to the burdens that any absence on his part allegedly might spare, or might have spared, the Court or the City of New York,” his order noted further.
The Post reported that Trump is slated to stand trial in Manhattan federal court on charges of raping advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in the dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in the 1990s.
Carroll has also alleged that Trump defamed her by making public statements about the allegations, which were first reported in a 2019 New York Magazine book excerpt.
Trump has refuted the claims.
Trump’s attorneys requested a trial delay in the defamation and battery case last week, citing the intense media coverage of his Manhattan indictment last month and the need for a “cooling off” period.
Kaplan, a senior judge in the Southern District of New York who was appointed in 1994, denied Trump’s request for a one-month adjournment of the trial, stating, “There is no justification for an adjournment. This case has nothing to do with the state prosecution.”
“Developments in at least one of these matters, as well as actions and statements by Mr. Trump in relation to any, may well give rise to intense publicity that, in some respects, Mr. Trump might claim to be prejudicial in this case,” Kaplan noted. “Mr. Trump’s suggestion that a one-month trial postponement, in this case, would ensure the absence of any such developments in the period immediately preceding jury selection is not realistic.”
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
Earlier this month, it was revealed that LinkedIn founder and Democratic mega-donor Reid Hoffman was secretly funding Carroll’s lawsuit against Trump. CONTINUE READING…