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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Trump defamation trial is delayed for illness, upending timetable

By Maria Cramer and Kate Christobek


The New York trial of the writer E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against Donald Trump was suspended on Monday after one of his lawyers said she had been exposed to COVID and a juror fell ill.


The juror was on his way to court when he began to feel flulike symptoms and called the federal courthouse in Manhattan to report that he was feeling ill, the judge in the trial, Lewis A. Kaplan, told lawyers for Trump and Carroll in the courtroom.


Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, who was exposed to COVID during a visit to her parents, said she had tested negative but was still feeling symptoms.


She asked Kaplan to postpone court for the day, and then asked for the trial to be delayed until Wednesday. She noted that Trump, who was in court and had been whispering to her, had reminded her that New Hampshire was holding its presidential primary on Tuesday.


“I would need his testimony to be Wednesday,” Habba said.


Roberta A. Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer, said she would prefer to continue on Tuesday.


“I’d like to get this trial over with,” she said.


Judge Kaplan said he would consider Habba’s request. “Circumstances may result in your getting what you ask for,” he told Habba. “And maybe not.”


Thus ended the question of whether Trump would take the stand on Monday and testify in the civil trial, which is beginning its second week and which he has used as an opportunity to reach voters and complain that he is being mistreated by the courts.


On Monday morning, Trump’s motorcade had headed to the downtown Manhattan courthouse where a jury is deciding how much money, if any, he must pay Carroll for defaming her in 2019. That was the year she first accused him of raping her decades earlier in a department store dressing room.


In May, jurors in a separate trial awarded Carroll a little more than $2 million after finding Trump liable for sexually abusing her. They also found that Trump had defamed her in separate instances and awarded her $3 million in damages for those.

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