Donald Trump has requested a mistrial in a civil case where the writer E. Jean Carroll is accusing him of rape and defamation, claiming that the judge made a series of unfair and prejudicial rulings against him.
In an 18-page letter filed early Monday in Manhattan federal court, Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina accused US District Judge Lewis Kaplan of being biased against the former US 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.
Tacopina said if a mistrial were not granted, Kaplan should correct the record and give him more freedom to cross-examine Carroll.
Lawyers for Carroll did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Requests for mistrials are often long shots, including when they are based on the judge’s statements. Such requests also often form a basis for eventual appeals.
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.
Her 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 maintained that the rape never happened.
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 of 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. The trial is expected to resume later Monday, with Carroll facing a second day of cross-examination by Tacopina.