Judge in Trump's sexual assault trial rules against Trump

April 23, 2023
Robert Ayers

The judge who is presiding over the sexual assault trial of Donald Trump just issued a ruling against the former president, the New York Post reports

This has to do with the sexual assault case that has been brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll against Trump.

Carroll maintains that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman department store in the 1990s. Carroll, additionally, alleges that Trump defamed her with statements that he made about the sexual assault allegation.

The trial is set to commence this week at a federal court in Manhattan, New York. Presiding over the case will be U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan.

Proposed instructions for the jury

It appears that Trump does not plan on attending the trial.

Accordingly, Joe Tacopina - Trump's attorney - asked Kaplan to provide instructions to the jury explaining why it is that Trump will not be doing so.

The proposed jury instructions read:

While no litigant is required to appear at a civil trial, the absence of the defendant in this matter, by design, avoids the logistical burdens that his presence, as the former president, would cause the courthouse and New York City. Accordingly, his presence is excused unless and until he is called by either party to testify.

Such a proposed instruction suggests that Trump's legal team is concerned that the jury might be given the wrong impression by Trump's absence at trial. And so, the instruction is designed to prevent this.

But, Kaplan has now ruled on the proposed instruction, and the ruling is not in Trump's favor.

Kaplan's ruling

In the order that he released on Thursday, Kaplan took no issue with Trump's decision to not attend on trial. Kaplan, however, said that Trump and his legal team are not allowed to tell the jury that Trump's absence is due to "logistical burdens."

In other words, Kaplan has rejected the proposed jury instructions.

"Mr. Trump is free to attend, to testify, or both," Kaplan wrote. "He is free also to do none of those things."

The judge continued:

In the meantime, there shall be no reference by counsel for Mr. Trump in the presence of the jury panel or the trial jury to Mr. Trump’s alleged desire to testify or to the burdens that any absence on his part allegedly might spare, or might have spared, the Court or the City of New York.

So, it's a preliminary loss for Trump. We'll have to see if he has more success in the trial itself. Jury selection is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25.

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