Trump Vows to Attend Defamation Trial as Legal Battles Take Center Stage in Presidential Campaign

Trump Vows to Attend Defamation Trial as Legal Battles Take Center Stage in Presidential Campaign

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It’s just one of many legal battles President Trump is confronting as the presidential campaign season intensifies. 

Former President Donald Trump said on Jan. 11 that he would attend his defamation trial against writer E. Jean Carroll and wanted to do the same for all of his upcoming trials, which he said have become “part” of his “campaign.”

“Yeah, I’m going to go to it, and I’m going to explain I don’t know who the hell she is,” he said at the Trump Building in New York City.

The trial is scheduled to start Jan. 16 and is focused on how much President Trump will have to pay Ms. Carroll for allegedly defaming her by saying she lied about him sexually assaulting her.

In 2019, Ms. Carroll brought a defamation case against President Trump. Ms. Carroll brought a separate case against President Trump when New York state lifted the statute of limitations for sexual offense cases for one year and won $5 million in damages in May. The former president countersued, but the case was dismissed.

His comments came on the same day as closing arguments in his New York Civil trial, which could penalize him with hundreds of millions of dollars.

“I never saw this woman in my life other than I have a picture with her and her husband,” President Trump said. “I have no idea who this woman is. I have absolutely no idea. The whole thing is ridiculous, that this is actually a case.”

It’s just one of many legal battles President Trump is confronting as the presidential campaign season intensifies.  The decision in that case is scheduled for Jan. 31, just weeks after the first Republican caucus and roughly a month before his D.C. trial is set to begin.

President Trump was unable to participate in closing arguments on Jan. 11 after he refused to comply with conditions set by Justice Engoron.

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President Trump summarized his courtroom remarks to the press after the court went on break.

“They owe me damages for what they’ve done,” he said. “We have a great company, we’re an innocent company, we did everything right.”

He added that “this is a disgraceful situation, this is why businesses are fleeing New York, like Exxon.”

“They paid billions and billions in taxes, and I’ve paid millions and millions over the years,” he added. He said he paid $300 million over “a very short period of time.”

Legal Issues ‘Part of My Campaign’

Later in the year, he’s also facing trials in Georgia, Florida, and another in New York.

“Well, see, my legal issues, every one of them, every one, are all set up by crooked Joe Biden, every one of them,” he said.

“They’re doing it for election interference,” he said. “And in a way, I guess you can consider it part of the campaign. They are doing this. It’s never been done like this in this country.”

The cases and their material will likely form a substantial part of the campaign season, with President Trump potentially facing logistical and legal hurdles to fully advocating for his candidacy.

Following Justice Arthur Engoron’s scheduled decision, President Trump’s legal team will argue on Feb. 8 before the Supreme Court that a Colorado court was wrong to rule him disqualified from appearing on the state’s ballot. That decision was cited in Maine, where the secretary of state also claimed that President Trump was disqualified because he engaged in an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

His arguments at the Carroll trial will be limited after a New York court ruled that his lawyers would not be able to make legal arguments to the jury assessing damages.

An appeals court in December rejected his attempt to delay the trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the facts are the same in both of the civil cases Ms. Carroll brought against President Trump, and he issued a summary judgment in the defamation case after a jury found President Trump guilty of “sexual battery” against Ms. Carroll in her second case.

Savannah Pointer, Michael Washburn, and Catherine Yang contributed to this report.

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