Donald Trump’s attorneys asked a federal judge on Tuesday to delay the start of a sexual assault and defamation trial against the ex-president, arguing that he would be unable to get a fair shake because…well, jurors would be thinking about all the other crimes he’s allegedly committed.
Citing a “deluge of prejudicial media coverage” related to his indictment and arraignment by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Trump’s lawyers requested that the April 25 trial, based on writer E. Jean Carroll’s accusation that Trump raped her in the mid-’90s, be put off till next month. “President Trump can only receive a fair trial in a calmer media environment than the one created by the New York County district attorney,” his legal team wrote, referring to prosecutor Alvin Bragg’s case against the ex-president, in which he was formally charged last week with 34 class E felony counts of falsifying business records in relation to hush money payments made to a porn star, a Playboy model, and a doorman who claimed Trump had a secret love child. “Holding the trial of this case a mere three weeks after these historic events will guarantee that many, if not most, prospective jurors will have the criminal allegations top of mind when judging President Trump’s defense against Ms. Carroll’s allegations.”
In 2019, Carroll accused Trump of raping her in a dressing room at a Manhattan department store. Trump denied doing so, called Carroll a liar, and creepily claimed that he couldn’t have sexually assaulted her because she wasn’t his “type.” (Later, during a deposition, Trump mistook a photo of Carroll for someone who presumably was his type: Marla Maples, his second wife.) Carroll initially sued the then president for defamation, and then added a suit accusing him of rape, which she was able to bring decades later thanks to a New York law that allows civil actions after the criminal statute of limitations has run out.
In February, Trump’s legal team tried to ban the infamous Access Hollywood tape—in which Trump bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy” without their consent—from being played at trial, presumably because they know how bad it makes him sound. Calling the recording “irrelevant and highly prejudicial,” lawyers Alina Habba and Michael Madaio argued that the tape, per the Associated Press, “might unjustly be used to suggest to jurors that Trump had a propensity for sexual assault and therefore must have raped Carroll.” Which might have had something to do with Trump’s telling Access Hollywood host Billy Bush: “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” US district judge Lewis Kaplan denied that request last month, in addition to the one made by Team Trump to block Carroll from using the testimony of Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, two other women who have accused the ex-president of sexual misconduct. (For the record, Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 26 women and has denied any and all allegations against him.)
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