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 May 6, 2023

Donald Trump's legal team opts not to offer a defense in sexual assault case

Former President Donald Trump and his legal team have decided not to present a defense in his civil case against advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. 

Per Politico:

Lawyers for the former president had been poised to call one witness in his defense — a psychiatrist — but that person proved unable to testify due to a medical issue, according to Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina.

It has already been reported that Trump, himself, also will not be taking the stand.

Trump is facing claims of battery and defamation.

The battery claim stems from an incident that Carroll claims occurred in the mid-1990s. She maintains that, in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman luxury department store, Trump raped her.

Carroll's defamation claim stems from much more recent statements that Trump made about Carroll and her sexual assault allegation.

Trump, for his part, maintains that he has done nothing wrong, that the incident "never happened," and that Carroll's claim is a "hoax."

The trial is ongoing. It started last week. The jury, thus far, has been listening to Carroll's legal team present their case.

Trump has not been in attendance. In fact, Trump and his legal team made it clear that the former president would not be attending the trial before the trial commenced.

Trump's lawyers tried to get the presiding judge to give the jury an instruction explaining why Trump has chosen not to appear, so that the jury does not draw a negative inference from Trump's lack of attendance. But, the presiding judge - U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan - did not grant Trump's request.

Trump has appeared at the trial, just not in person. Carroll's lawyers have played for the jury a portion of the videotaped deposition that Trump gave in October 2022. This included a part of the deposition in which Trump called Carroll's claim "ridiculous," disgusting," and "made up."

Carroll's legal team also played for the jury an Access Hollywood tape recording from 2005, in which Trump, infamously said:

When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.

That is a particularly prejudicial piece of evidence, to say the least. It doesn't seem, thus far, that Carroll's lawyers have any direct evidence of the battery allegation.

It is unclear how much longer the trial will last. It is also unclear what the jury will decide. It is worth noting that the case is taking place in Manhattan.

Written By:
Robert Ayers

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