A federal judge on Friday rejected Donald Trump’s latest effort to postpone the defamation trial scheduled for January with writer E. Jean Carroll in Manhattan, New York.
Carroll initially filed the lawsuit against Trump in 2019, claiming that he had defamed her by denying her accusation of rape, asserting she wasn’t his “type,” and implying she fabricated the allegation to promote a book. The legal proceedings have been prolonged due to Trump’s presidential status at the time of his statements.
District Judge Lewis Kaplan denied Trump’s request to halt the case during the course of an appeal, as stated in a court order. Trump had sought to delay proceedings while his legal team pursued an appeal of the judge’s decision, which had found that Trump cannot claim presidential immunity as a defense in the defamation lawsuit.
Kaplan emphasized that he wasn’t obligated to suspend the case while the appeals court examined the matter.
“While there is a societal interest in safeguarding presidents from legal repercussions for actions performed within their official capacities, there is also a societal interest in ensuring that even presidents are answerable for actions that – as this Court has already determined in this instance – fall outside that purview,” Kaplan wrote.
The judge also resisted any further postponement, citing his concerns about the “advanced” ages of both Trump and Carroll, who are 77 and 79 years old respectively. Kaplan, in his late 70s, pointed out that delaying the case pending resolution of Trump’s appeal could potentially defer any compensation due to Carroll by several months or even a year.
“Both parties are elderly, and a postponement of this case until Mr. Trump’s appeal is resolved could potentially delay any compensation that Ms. Carroll might be entitled to by several months, if not more than a year,” the ruling states.
Carroll’s legal team opposed Trump’s bid for a delay, contending that such a postponement could intersect with his other criminal trials and the presidential campaign.
Kaplan also accused Trump of using delaying tactics in the legal proceedings with Carroll, noting that this marked the fourth attempt to postpone the trial.
Separately in 2022, Carroll filed another lawsuit against Trump under the New York Adult Survivors Act, alleging battery and defamation for statements he made in October of that year. The trial for that case took place earlier this spring, resulting in a jury finding Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll and defaming her. She was awarded $5 million in damages.
In recent times, Kaplan also dismissed a counter-defamation lawsuit that Trump had filed against Carroll for statements she made subsequent to the jury’s verdict. Trump’s legal team has appealed that particular ruling.