A lawyer for a writer who says Donald Trump sexually abused her in the 1990s and then defamed her while president in 2019 said Saturday that the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape and two women who accused Trump of abuse will not be put before a New York jury considering defamation damages.
The revelation by attorney Roberta Kaplan, who represents advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, means that the Republican front-runner in this year’s presidential race could testify in Manhattan federal court as early as Monday, a day before the New Hampshire primary.
The jury is considering whether Trump owes more to Carroll than the $5 million awarded to her last spring by another jury that concluded Trump sexually abused but did not rape Carroll in the dressing room of a luxury Manhattan department store in spring 1996 and then defamed her in October 2022.
Trump attended the trial for two of its first three days, only skipping it on Thursday, when he attended the funeral of his mother-in-law in Florida.
Kaplan said late Saturday in a letter to the judge that she would not show jurors the 2005 tape in which Trump is caught on a hot mic speaking disparagingly of women to keep the issues in the trial “focused.”
For the same reason, she said she won’t call two other Trump accusers as witnesses: Natasha Stoynoff and Jessica Leeds.
Both women testified at the trial that ended last May. Leeds, a former stockbroker, said Trump abruptly groped her against her will on an airline flight in the 1970s, while Stoynoff, a writer, said Trump forcibly kissed her against her will while she was interviewing him for a 2005 article.
Kaplan noted that Trump’s lawyers had said he is entitled to testify concerning the “Access Hollywood” tape and the allegations of Stoynoff and Leeds, though he would not be if they were not introduced into the case by Carroll’s attorneys.
The judge in the case has instructed the jury that it must accept the findings of the jury last year and thus the evidence has focused almost exclusively on what harm has been caused to Carroll by Trump’s continuous claims that he never attacked her and doesn’t know her and that she is lying.
Trump, 77, has denied her claims in the last week during campaign stops, on social media and at a news conference. And he continues to assert that Carroll, 80, made false claims against him to sell the 2019 memoir in which she first revealed the allegations publicly and for political reasons.
The judge has severely limited what Trump can testify about if he takes the witness stand, and Carrol’s lawyers likely decided to limit the introduction of more evidence to prevent Trump from straying into subjects such as what he maintains are many false claims against him.
However, Kaplan said she does plan to show the jury statements Trump has made since her client finished testifying in the case on Thursday.
Kaplan said Trump said he plans to repeat his claims that he never attacked Carroll and doesn’t know her “a thousand times.”
“Such statements,” she wrote, “are of course relevant to the issue of punitive damages, as they illustrate that Defendant has no intention of ceasing his defamation campaign against Ms. Carroll, even in the face of judicial proceedings in which his liability for defaming her is settled.”
A lawyer for Trump did not return a request for comment on Kaplan’s letter Saturday night.
Larry Nemeister, The Associated Press