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Judge Slams Trump’s Last-Minute Attempt to Delay Rape and Defamation Trial

The judge suggested Trump could face more indictments and blamed the former president for the media frenzy.

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower on April 13, 2023, in New York City.

A federal judge on Monday rejected former President Donald Trump’s bid to delay the civil rape and defamation trial against him.

Trump’s attorney last week asked U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan to postpone the trial in a lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, a longtime magazine columnist who accused Trump of raping her at a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, which the former president denied.

Trump attorney Joe Tacopina argued in a letter to Kaplan that there should be a “cooling off” period after the former president’s criminal indictment in Manhattan, citing a media frenzy.

Kaplan in a 10-page opinion on Monday rejected the effort and said the media circus was of Trump’s own making.

“There is no justification for an adjournment,” Kaplan wrote.

“This case is entirely unrelated to the state prosecution,” the judge explained. “The suggestion that the recent media coverage of the New York indictment — coverage significantly (though certainly not entirely) invited or provoked by Mr. Trump’s own actions — would preclude selection of a fair and impartial jury on April 25 is pure speculation. So too is his suggestion that a month’s delay of the start of this trial would ‘cool off’ anything, even if any ‘cooling off’ were necessary.”

Kaplan added that “at least some portion” of the media coverage around Trump’s indictment was “of his own doing.”

“It does not sit well for Mr. Trump to promote pretrial publicity and then to claim that coverage that he promoted was prejudicial to him and should be taken into account as supporting a further delay,” Kaplan wrote, adding that Trump had “failed to show” any justification for a postponement and suggested there is a “possibility that this latest eve-of-trial request for a postponement is a delay tactic” by Trump.

Kaplan noted that Carroll is 79 years old and has had her case pending for three years. She “is entitled to her day in court just as both parties are entitled to a fair trial,” the judge wrote.

Kaplan added that it is “quite important to remember [also] that postponements in circumstances such as this are not necessarily unmixed blessings from the standpoint of a defendant who is hoping for the dissipation of what he regards, or says he regards, as negative publicity. Events happen during postponements. Sometimes they can make matters worse,” an apparent suggestion that Trump could face more legal woes in the weeks to come.

The former president also faces special counsel Jack Smith’s probes into the Mar-a-Lago documents case and Jan. 6, as well as a Fulton County, Ga., investigation into his efforts to overturn his 2020 loss in the state. He also faces a $250 million civil lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James over an alleged yearslong fraud scheme by his companies.

The trial in Carroll’s case is set to begin on April 25.

“Judges all over the place are finally coming down on Trump with iron fists,” tweeted reporter Jose Pagliery, who covers Trump’s legal issues for The Daily Beast. “The theme is usually the same: You caused your own hell, Mr. Trump.”

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