On Tuesday, in a court hearing, there was a confrontation between the attorney and representative of former President Donald Trump and the federal judge overseeing the defamation case between Trump and writer E. Jean Carroll.
Trump was present in court at the beginning of Carroll’s defamation lawsuit she brought against him. The trial will determine the exact sum that Trump must pay Carroll as compensation for the damages, as a result of a prior ruling that found him responsible for sexually assaulting the columnist and ordered him to pay her $5 million.
CNN reported a disagreement between U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who was appointed by President Clinton, and Habba. The judge refused Habba’s plea to postpone the trial in order for Trump to be at his mother-in-law’s burial. When Habba requested a temporary suspension of the trial to enable Trump’s later arrival, a dispute arose involving her and Kaplan.
From my time on the border near Lukeville, Arizona. The port of entry closed because so many illegal aliens were there. Mostly male illegal aliens from the African countries of Senegal and Guinea which are majority Islamic. Tensions were very high because people tried to cut in… pic.twitter.com/COoB6te6AE
— Just Jeff From Cali (@liberty_clarion) January 19, 2024
The judge dismissed her assertions, affirming that the process of the trial were currently established. Kaplan explicitly stated that he wasn’t going to take any more arguments on the subject.
“When the ruling is made that is the end not the beginning of argument,” Kaplan said at one point — perhaps as a nod to the lengthy arguments Judge Arthur Engoron allowed in Trump’s recent New York civil fraud trial.
Habba requested the judge grant an adjournment Thursday, so Trump does not have to decide whether to be in court at trial or at his mother-in-law’s funeral.
“I am asking you, sir, now for a one-day adjournment of this trial” Thursday to “allow my clients to be there so that he can be present for every day of this trial as he has a right to be,” Habba said.
“I am not stopping him from being there,” Kaplan said.
“No, you’re stopping him from being here, Your Honor,” Habba responded.
“The argument is over,” Kaplan said, declining to change his previous ruling.
Kaplan and Trump engaged in multiple arguments during the intense hearing. Kaplan cautioned Trump that he might lose his court rights if he persisted in defaming Carroll to his lawyers during the trial.
““Mr. Trump has the right to be here,” Kaplan said Wednesday. “And that right can be forfeited if disruptive … if he disregards” court orders,” Conservative Brief reported.
“Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial,” Kaplan later said.
Before making these remarks, Kaplan had earlier in the day advised Trump to “keep his voice down.”
Shawn Crowley, Carroll’s attorney, claimed to the judge that she overheard Trump disparaging Carroll during her testimony.
“Mr. Trump has been loudly saying things, including that the witness is lying and noting that she has suddenly got her memory back,” Crowley told Kaplan after jurors were released from the room. “It’s loud enough that some of us here are hearing it.”
“I’m going to ask Mr. Trump to take special care to keep his voice down in conferring with his attorneys,” Kaplan said.
Despite the warning, Trump persisted in criticizing Carroll throughout the testimony, which led Crowley to inform Kaplan prior to lunch that she could still hear Trump insulting Carroll.
Kaplan subsequently made a threat to remove Trump from the meeting.
“Mr. Trump, I know you would like me to do that,” he said. “I know you would. You just can’t control yourself in this circumstance, apparently.”
On Tuesday, Kaplan reiterated his earlier warnings that the proceedings must not escalate by instructing the parties involved not to communicate with the jury “directly or indirectly.”
Last year, in a separate trial, a judge found Trump guilty of sexually abusing Carroll in the mid-1990s and of defaming her in 2022 for allegedly fabricating stories about the assault.
In other Trump-related legal news, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit delivered a brutal smackdown to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation, establishing a precedent that may have future consequences for executive privilege and the division of powers.
The court’s verdict, submitted on Tuesday, concerns the search of data housed at locations under the control of X, formerly Twitter, which challenged Smith’s request.
The matter, which has attracted widespread national interest, is around the Special Counsel’s endeavor to circumvent conventional executive privilege safeguards in its examination of Donald Trump’s Twitter posts when he was president.
Although Smith was eventually favored by the court on appeal, the official brief included a scathing criticism of Smith’s methods.
The court document explicitly asserted that “judicial disregard of executive privilege undermines the Presidency, not just the former President being investigated in this case.”
The court condemned the Special Counsel’s methodology, which involved executing a search warrant and issuing a nondisclosure order not taking into account the privileged nature of presidential records.
The court highlighted that “This unprecedented approach is mistaken for at least three reasons,” underscoring the deviation from past norms and the crucial constitutional safeguard of executive privilege.