Sunday, May 26

Judge Threatens to Eject Trump From Carroll Trial After His Complaints

A Manhattan judge overseeing the trial in which the writer E. Jean Carroll has accused Donald J. Trump of defaming her warned the former president Wednesday that he would throw him out of the courtroom if he kept making comments that the jury could hear.

During a break after Ms. Carroll had spent the morning testifying about what happened after she accused Mr. Trump of raping her, one of her lawyers complained, out of the jury’s presence, that Mr. Trump had been overheard at the defense table. He said “witch hunt” and “it was a con job,” loudly enough that jurors could hear.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who sparred all morning with Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, over her objections to Ms. Carroll’s testimony, appeared to be losing his patience.

“Mr. Trump has a right to be present here,” Judge Kaplan said. “That right can be forfeited and it can be forfeited if he is disruptive, which is what has been reported to me, and if he disregards court orders.”

He then directly addressed the former president.

“Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial,” he said.

Mr. Trump, who had spent most of the morning shaking his head during Ms. Carroll’s testimony, threw up his hands.

“I would love it,” he said.

Kaplan replied: “I understand you’re probably very eager for me to do that because you just can’t control yourself.”

Ms. Carroll has accused Mr. Trump of raping her decades ago in a dressing room in Bergdorf Goodman, and he has made dozens of posts on social media accusing her of lying — although a jury last year awarded her $2 million in damages for the assault. The former president is not required to attend the civil trial, but has said he wants to testify — something he didn’t do in the earlier case, when a jury also awarded Ms. Carroll $3 million for other defamation claims.

On Wednesday, the former president watched and listened for the first time as Ms. Carroll, 80, described how those statements affected her.

“He shattered my reputation,” Ms. Carroll said in the federal courtroom in Lower Manhattan as Mr. Trump sat at the defense table, attending the proceedings for a second straight day.

In the trial this week, the former Elle magazine advice columnist is seeking $10 million in damages for two statements he made as president in 2019, accusing her of lying about claims he assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s. Mr. Trump called Ms. Carroll’s rape claim “totally false,” said that he had never met Ms. Carroll, and that she had invented the story to sell a book.

Ms. Carroll, the author of five books, had regular appearances on programs like “Good Morning America” and the “Today” show before 2019, when she wrote a book that described the assault in a chapter that was published in New York magazine. Those appearances stopped after Mr. Trump accused her of lying and she was deluged with threats and cruel comments about her looks on social media and in her inbox, according to her lawyers.

“I was attacked,” Ms. Carroll said. “I was attacked on Twitter. I was attacked on Facebook. I was living in a new universe.”

Mr. Trump repeatedly shook his head and exhaled loudly, appearing to scoff.