Attorneys representing writer E. Jean Carroll battled with the former president’s lawyer in federal court two days before their long-delayed lawsuit alleging Trump of rape.
Trump’s attorneys informed a judge that their client has not even determined who would defend him in Carroll’s soon-to-be-filed criminal action.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan gave a clear message to Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba: the former president must make that decision quickly.
“Your client has known this is coming for months, and he would be well-advised to decide who’s representing him in it,” Kaplan said during a telephone conference on Tuesday.
When Thanksgiving arrives on Thursday, New York’s Adult Survivors Act will go into force for the first time, likely leading to a rush of new sexual assault claims that would otherwise be banned by the statute of limitations.
Carroll’s attorneys have been promising for weeks that their client will file one of them, charging Trump with six felonies under the New York criminal code.
One of them, they said, would be “first-degree rape.”
Carroll has addressed her charges in a roundabout way over the past four years out of necessity. She first filed defamation lawsuits after Trump told reporters, “She’s not my type,” in response to her accusations.
Shortly after, Trump claimed civil liability under the Westfall Act, and the Justice Department, then led by Bill Barr, moved to replace him as a defendant. Early in his term, Attorney General Merrick Garland took the same stance.
Two recent developments will render the immunity issue, which is still being debated by the D.C. Court of Appeals, outdated. One is a sexual assault case that will be filed shortly, accusing Trump of crimes committed prior to his office.
“The existence of that case has been known to the defendant since August,” said Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, who shares a last name with but is not related to the judge.
The other is a fresh defamation lawsuit from Trump’s post-presidency, confirming his past denials on his Truth Social platform using identical language.
During oral arguments, Trump’s counsel pointed out that Carroll had not filed the most recent case.
“Are you in suspense whether it will be?” Judge Kaplan asked.
Laughing, Carroll’s lawyer chimed in: “No.”
According to Trump’s lawyers, the question is not if the lawsuit will be filed, but rather who the former president will retain after he is served.
Judge Kaplan didn’t dismiss such concerns outright, but he did point out that Carroll’s counsel first declared their intent to pursue the complaint in August.
Carroll’s attorney stated that the two instances “substantially overlap,” and she deposed Trump on the second claimed act of defamation: a 406-word post on Truth Social republishing a statement sent through Save America, the former president’s political action committee.
Both Trump and Carroll’s legal teams have agreed to postpone the originally scheduled trial date of February 6, 2023. Carroll, on the other hand, thinks that the wait should be only a few months, until April 10, 2023. Trump’s legal team counter-offered a proposed date of May 8, 2023.
“You’ll be hearing me early in the week about this proposal,” Judge Kaplan said, ending the hearing.