A federal judge on Monday denied for a second time former President Donald Trump’s request to delay an assault and defamation trial set to begin next week in New York.
Trump’s attorneys asked for the delay, saying a “cooling off” period is necessary to obtain a fair and impartial jury given the media attention around Trump’s indictment on charges he falsified business records to cover up a hush money payment made to silence a past affair, which he denies.
Jury selection begins next Tuesday in E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit alleging that Trump raped her in a New York dressing room in the mid-1990s and then defamed her years later when he denied it took place, said she wasn’t his “type,” and suggested she made up the story to promote a new book.
Judge Lewis Kaplan said it was “pure speculation” that the attention around the indictment, which was “significantly (though certainly not entirely) invited or provoked by Mr. Trump’s own actions,” would affect the ability to select a jury.
Trump’s attorneys had suggested there should be a one month delay because both the indictment and the trial allegations involve “sexual misconduct.”
The judge said to suggest the “heart of the litigation” is the same “is just wrong.” He also noted this appeared to be another delay tactic by the Trump legal team.
“It does not sit well for Mr. Trump to promote pretrial publicity and then to claim that coverage that he promoted was prejudicial to him and should be taken into account as supporting a further delay,” the judge added.
Any bias, Kaplan wrote, would be rooted out during jury selection, which would likely include questions as to whether they are aware of Trump’s legal troubles.
The judge previously ruled the jury would be anonymous in this case and has denied requests to make their identities known to either Carroll or Trump’s legal team, citing potential security risks stemming from Trump’s own rhetoric.
Kaplan rejected another request to delay the trial after Trump’s legal team said they had recently learned that a billionaire donor to Democratic causes has funded some of Carroll’s litigation. The judge said he will allow Trump’s lawyers to ask Carroll limited questions about the payments in a narrowly tailored pre-trial deposition. He did not rule whether those questions would be permitted at trial.