February 21, 2024

AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

Before former President Donald Trump took the witness stand in his defamation trial involving E. Jean Carroll, the judge introduced him by telling the jury the ex-president sexually abused her.

Following a brief recess, Judge Lewis Kaplan asked Trump’s attorney Alina Habba if she had any more witnesses to call to the stand. When Habba responded that the former president intended to testify, Kaplan interrupted her to make a statement.

“I have a few things to say. There was a trial last year about the truth or falsity of Ms. Carroll’s claims. Mr. Trump was listed as a witness but did not testify. The jury found for Ms. Carroll. There are no do-overs, it’s called issue preclusion or collateral estoppel,” Kaplan informed the jury, according to journalist Matthew Russell.

Kaplan added, “The jury found that Mr. Trump inserted his fingers into her vagina. And that Ms. Carroll did not make up her claim. And that Mr. Trump’s June 11 and June 22 statements were defamatory. Now Mr. Trump may not make any argument against this.”

Last year, a jury found Trump liable for sexually assaulting Carroll in a department store back in the 1990s. Moreover, Kaplan previously found Trump’s 2019 comments calling Carroll a liar defamatory, so the trial is focused only on what damages Carroll will receive from Trump.

In the prior defamation case where Trump was found liable for sexual abuse, Carroll was awarded $5 million.

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