Trump Takes Stand in Civil Defamation Trial as Closing Arguments Approach

New York – Former President Donald Trump made a brief appearance in a Manhattan federal courthouse amid a civil defamation trial. The trial revolves around Trump’s comments in 2019 about writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of sexual assault in the mid-1990s. Carroll won a civil verdict against Trump last year and is seeking at least $10 million in damages.

During his time on the witness stand, which lasted less than five minutes, Trump faced multiple admonishments from Judge Lewis Kaplan and was unable to re-litigate the previous verdict. Trump’s attorney asked him if he stood by his previous denial of Carroll’s allegations, to which he replied with a firm “100% yes.” The defense’s strategy was undermined when Judge Kaplan ordered the court to strike everything Trump said after his initial confirmation.

The trial is set to conclude with closing arguments on Friday morning, followed by the jury’s deliberation. Trump’s decision to appear in court has garnered attention, as he was not obligated to attend or speak at the trial. His presence is seen by some as an opportunity to further his narrative that he is a victim of a conspiracy designed to impede his return to office and damage his personal and business reputation.

In an attempt to challenge Carroll’s claims about her safety, Trump’s attorney questioned the writer’s longtime friend, Carol Martin. Text messages were presented in which Carroll stated she had no security concerns at the time. Martin acknowledged that Carroll had enjoyed the attention from her lawsuits against Trump to some degree.

The defense also played videos for the jury from a recent media appearance and a deposition in which Trump discussed his personal wealth and denied knowing Carroll. These videos are part of the defense’s strategy to portray Carroll as exaggerating her claims.

This is not the first time Trump has used a courtroom as a political platform, having made similar statements during a separate civil fraud trial earlier this month. Trump’s appearance at the trial serves as another opportunity for him to address his supporters and reinforce his belief in a conspiracy against him.

The jury’s decision in this trial will determine whether Trump is held responsible for defaming Carroll and whether he will face significant financial penalties. The outcome of the trial could have broader implications for Trump’s reputation and potential future legal battles. As the trial nears its conclusion, tensions remain high, and the public awaits the jury’s verdict.