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E. Jean Carroll resumes testimony in Trump rape trial, as mistrial denied

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Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at Aberdeen International Airport in Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain May 1, 2023. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

E. Jean Carroll returned to the witness stand on Monday where a lawyer for Donald Trump sought to disprove her claim the former U.S. president raped her, after the judge denied a defense request for a mistrial.

Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina resumed cross-examination of Carroll about five hours after requesting a mistrial in her rape and defamation civil case, saying the judge made several “unfair and prejudicial” rulings.

In an 18-page letter filed early on Monday in Manhattan federal court, Tacopina accused U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of bias against the former U.S. president, including in the jury’s presence.

He said the effect of Kaplan’s rulings “manifests a deeper leaning towards one party over another,” including in comments where the judge “openly expresses favoritism.”

The judge denied the motion for a mistrial before testimony resumed.

Requests for mistrials are often long shots, including when they are based on the judge’s own statements. Such requests also often form a basis for eventual appeals.

Trump is leading the Republican field in the 2024 presidential race. Kaplan was appointed to the bench by Democratic President Bill Clinton.

A businessman-turned-politician, Trump has not been attending Carroll’s trial, and on Monday was in Scotland for a short trip to visit his golf courses there, and eventually in Ireland.

Carroll, 79, has accused Trump, 76, of raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in late 1995 or early 1996, and then undermining her credibility and career by lying about it online.

The former Elle magazine advice columnist’s defamation claim concerns an October 2022 post on Trump’s Truth Social platform, where Trump called Carroll’s case a “complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie.”

Trump has consistently denied that the rape happened.

Because the case is civil, Carroll must establish her claims by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not, and need not meet the tougher criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tacopina said Kaplan should have let him question Carroll about why she did not seek security camera footage of the alleged rape, and why she did not tell police.

He also challenged Kaplan’s handling outside jurors’ presence of a Twitter post by Trump’s son Eric discussing how LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman was helping fund her case.

Tacopina called Eric Trump’s tweet protected speech, and objected to Kaplan saying the tweet might leave Donald Trump “sailing in harm’s way” and that “some relevant United States statutes” might be implicated.

Others who may testify for Carroll include two friends with whom she spoke shortly after the alleged rape, and two other women who have said Trump assaulted them.

Several women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. He has denied their allegations.

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