A judge in the E. Jean Carroll civil rape case against him just warned Donald Trump that if he chooses to defend himself on social media as he’s been doing so far, he could bring on new legal consequences.
Trump obviously has the right to defend himself in court against Carroll’s allegations that he raped her in a department store dressing room years ago, but the judge says stop the social media attacks.
As the trial began Wednesday morning, Trump turned to his social media site, where he claimed the allegation was a “scam,” and alleged that a political operative is funding it as an attack on him.
He attacked Carroll’s credibility, arguing that the lack of witnesses or police report (against a wealthy businessman in the 1990s) belie her claims.
Carroll’s attorney saw the posts, and shared them with Judge Lewis Kaplan, who responded, calling them inappropriate and addressing Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina.
Tacopina argued that the jury shouldn’t be looking at social media during the case anyway, but agreed to ask the former president not to post further about the case.
Judge Kaplan hinted that Tacopina should make a very strong effort to communicate this to his client, lest he face legal repercussions.
He also made it clear that he sees the posts as an effort to reach the jury directly, about matters that they are not supposed to hear. From NBC:
“‘What seems to be the case is that your client is basically endeavoring, certainly to speak to his quote-unquote public — but, more troubling, the jury in this case — about stuff that has no business being spoken about,’ the judge told Trump’s lawyers. He called Trump’s post ‘a public statement that, on the face of it, seems entirely inappropriate.'”
Trump has continued to attack Carroll as the case progressed, calling her “Ms. Bergdorf Goodman,” repeating that she is “not his type,” which he seems to hold as the standard of evidence for innocence in sexual assault allegations, and accusing her of lying.
Yet, as supporting evidence, Carroll’s legal team interviewed two other women whose stories of being sexually assaulted by Trump sound very similar to her own, and in Trump’s deposition, his denials also sound similar.
These three women make up only a fraction of the more than two dozen who have accused him of sexual assault or related misconduct, including, according to Insider, his late ex-wife Ivana Trump, and two women who were contestants in Miss Teen USA pageants at the time when they say he walked in on them in a state of undress.
Trump’s attorney filed a request to keep deposition questions about his client’s alleged longstanding propensity for grabbing and groping women without permission out of court.
You can see Trump’s Truth Social posts about Carroll and the case against him below.
In the first, he alludes to the dress Carroll alleges he left DNA on, and suggests the failure to enter it as evidence disproves her allegations.
He fails to mention that she did fight for a DNA sample for comparison, and that he dodged repeated requests.In a second post, about 20 minutes later, he repeats a common refrain among accused rapists: there were no witnesses, and the victim didn’t file a police report. (Victims often do not report sexual assault, for a long list of reasons, including that doing so can be embarrassing and triggering, and may involve effectively reliving the trauma; and that rapists are relatively rarely actually held to account since by the nature of the crime, evidence is often lacking.)