Court Says No to Trump Request for Trial Delay

( – Former President Donald Trump got a “no” from a Manhattan federal judge on April 17th when he asked for a one-month delay in the upcoming defamation case against him brought by a columnist.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled the trial will proceed as scheduled on April 25th. Trump is suing columnist E. Jean Carroll, who claimed that Trump raped her in the mid-1990s. Trump denies the claim, and no criminal prosecution occurred. Carroll is suing Trump for defamation.

Trump’s lawyers had asked for the delay because, they said, the public attention to Trump’s recent arraignment on campaign finance fraud allegations will make it difficult to find an unbiased jury. Earlier this month Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted Trump on allegations that Trump’s hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels somehow constituted a federally illegal campaign donation.

Legal scholars have said Bragg’s legal theory is dubious.

Judge Kaplan rejected the request for a stay, but he did indicate some sympathy with concerns Trump’s legal team brought up about who may be funding Carroll’s legal expenses.

Like the criminal action brought by prosecutor Alvin Bragg, Carroll’s defamation suit is similarly indirect and novel. She is suing Trump for denying that he raped her, characterizing his denial as “defamation” against her. It is not clear how the act of denying a serious criminal allegation could be construed as legal harm to another party’s reputation.

The complaint against Trump cites instances in which Trump “accused Carroll of lying about the rape in order to increase book sales,” and to advance a conspiracy and a political vendetta against the former president.

Last year, Trump released a statement in which he again denied Carroll’s claims. The statement said Caroll was not telling the truth, that Trump had nothing to do with Carroll, and that he “would have no interest in knowing her” if he had the chance. 

Trump said he did not know Carroll and had only posed with her and her husband years ago for a publicity photograph. 

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