Trump asks for mistrial in E. Jean Carroll rape defamation trial

Author E. Jean Carroll arrives to federal court in New York, US, on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. The trial of a civil suit by Carroll, who claims Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s, is set to start today.

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Former President Donald Trump on Monday asked for a mistrial in writer E. Jean Carroll’s civil rape and defamation case, accusing the judge of making “pervasive unfair and prejudicial rulings” against him.

The request came after Carroll said Trump “raped me” and “shattered my reputation” over two days of testimony in the trial, which began last week. Carroll is expected to return to the stand in federal court in Manhattan on Monday.

In an 18-page letter, Trump attorney Joe Tacopina argued that Judge Lewis Kaplan mischaracterized evidence in Carroll’s favor, bolstered her testimony and wrongly sustained objections from Carroll’s lawyers that hampered his questioning of the witness.

Tacopina asked that if Kaplan does not grant a mistrial, he “correct the record for each and every instance in which the Court has mischaracterized the facts of this case to the Jury” and give Trump’s lawyers “greater latitude” during cross examination.

Carroll accused Trump of raping her in the dressing room of a New York City department store in the 1990s, and then defaming her when she came forward with the story decades later. Trump denies raping Carroll and says he has not defamed her. In recent social media posts, Trump has again questioned Carroll’s account and taunted her as “Ms. Bergdorf Goodman.”

Before Carroll first began testifying last Wednesday, Kaplan warned Trump’s lawyer about the former president‘s posts.

Tacopina’s letter argued that Kaplan “shut down” a “proper line of questioning” about whether Carroll had sought to retrieve surveillance footage from the department store. The letter also said that the judge’s interjections over Tacopina’s use of the phrase “criminal charge” resulted in “unfairness” to Trump.

Tacopina also pointed to a moment in his cross-examination of Carroll when Kaplan chimed in to note that Carroll’s book, titled “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” was referencing a famous satire when it called for relocating all men to Montana.

“It comes from Jonathan Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal,'” Kaplan noted in court. That comment suggested “Jury favoritism,” Tacopina’s letter argued.

Trump, who is a leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has not made clear if he will attend any part of the trial.

A lawyer for Carroll did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the letter.

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