In a recent development, a New York federal judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, has cited former President Donald Trump’s “repeated public statements” as a compelling reason for an anonymous jury in the upcoming defamation lawsuit.
According to an order signed by order Judge Kaplan, the court found that due to Mr. Trump’s repeated public statements about the plaintiff and the court in this case, and in other cases against him, along with the extensive media coverage, the jury needs the protection of anonymity.
The case involves a writer who alleges that Trump sexually abused her in the 1990s. Judge Kaplan issued an order mandating that the U.S. Marshals Service transport the jury for the January trial in Manhattan due to concerns regarding the extensive media coverage and Trump’s public comments about the plaintiff and the court.
This decision comes after a previous trial in May, where an anonymous jury awarded $5 million in damages to columnist E. Jean Carroll, finding that Trump had sexually abused her in 1996 and defamed her with disparaging comments made in 2022. Kaplan presided over this trial as well. The current lawsuit, initially filed in 2019, revolves around Trump’s comments made after Carroll disclosed the alleged attack in her memoir. The legal process faced delays due to appeals, with Trump asserting absolute presidential immunity.
Following the May verdict, Kaplan ruled that Carroll’s lawyers need not prove Trump’s misconduct again. Instead, they will focus on determining the damages he should face for his remarks. The lawsuit was updated to include Trump’s post-verdict televised town hall comments. Carroll is seeking a minimum of $10 million in compensatory damages and significantly higher punitive damages.
Trump, a prominent contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, recently faced a $10,000 fine imposed by New York state judge Arthur Engoron for violating a gag order in a civil fraud case. Engoron required Trump to answer questions and found him not credible. The judge had previously fined Trump $5,000 for similar violations related to social media attacks on court personnel.
In addition to these civil matters, Trump faces four criminal indictments, including accusations of attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, a classified documents case, and charges related to hush-money payments to porn actor Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty in these cases.
The legal challenges continue to mount for the former President, raising significant questions about his future legal standing and potential implications for his political aspirations. In addition to the above, Trump is facing disqualification challenges in two states. Trump may not be allowed to hold office again under a little-used constitutional provision in Colorado and Minnesota. As a result of the Civil War, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies individuals from holding public office if they pledged their allegiance to the Constitution and then start a rebellion or insurrection.