(NEW YORK) — Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday in the defamation and battery case brought by former Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll against former President Donald Trump.
Carroll sued Trump in November, alleging that he defamed her in a 2022 Truth Social post by calling her allegations “a Hoax and a lie” and saying “This woman is not my type!” when he denied her claim that Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s.
She added a charge of battery under a recently adopted New York law that allows adult survivors of sexual abuse to sue their alleged attacker regardless of the statute of limitations.
Trump has repeatedly denied Carroll’s allegations.
It’s unclear whether Trump will himself will travel to New York City to attend any portion of the civil trial. His attorney, Joe Tacopina, told Judge Lewis Kaplan Thursday that Trump will make that decision as the trial proceeds.
“Because the decision of the defendant, who is not required to appear as a civil litigant, will be made during the course of the trial, we are not yet in a position to advise the Court in this regard,” Tacopina wrote the judge. “However, we will inform the Court as soon as a decision is reached, particularly in light of the logistical concerns that will need to be addressed in coordination with the Secret Service, the Marshals Service, and the City of New York.”
The trial is expected to last about five days.
Kaplan last week denied Trump’s attempt to delay the start of the trial for four weeks. Trump had sought a one-month delay on the grounds that a “cooling off” period was necessary following intense media coverage of his criminal indictment in Manhattan last month in connection with an alleged hush money payment to an adult film actress.
“There is no justification for an adjournment,” the judge ruled. “This case is entirely unrelated to the state prosecution.”
Carroll previously sued Trump in 2019 after the then-president denied her rape claim by telling The Hill that Carroll was “totally lying,” saying, “I’ll say it with great respect: No. 1, she’s not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” That defamation suit has been caught in a procedural back-and-forth over the question of whether Trump, as president, was acting in his official capacity as an employee of the federal government when he made those remarks.
If Trump is determined to have been acting as a government employee, the U.S. government would substitute as the defendant in that suit — which means that case would go away, since the government cannot be sued for defamation.
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