Lawyers representing columnist E. Jean Carroll asked as a judge on Sunday to force former President Donald Trump to follow a court order to remove certain social media posts about his civil rape trial.
Carroll, a former writer for Elle, filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump in 2019 in New York Supreme Court. She claims that the former president raped her at a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990’s and then later defamed her character. Trump has strongly denied that the sexual assault ever happened.
Since the trial involving Carroll is a civil case and not a criminal one, Trump will not face any face any jail time if a ruling is issued against him. ln April, on the first day of the civil defamation and battery trial, Judge Lewis Kaplan spoke to Trump’s lawyer and warned that the former president “may or may not be tampering with a new source of potential liability” with a recent social media post.
The former president had called Carroll’s claims a “SCAM” on his Truth Social media platform and accused her attorney of being a “political operative.” Trump also referenced the dress that Carroll wore during the alleged encounter, saying it “should be allowed to be part of the case.”
Kaplan called Trump’s post “entirely inappropriate” and suggested that the former president was trying to influence the jury, which would violate the judge’s previous orders of refraining from making “any statements that are likely to incite violence or civil unrest.”
“Your client is basically endeavoring certainly to speak to his ‘public,’ but more troublesome, to the jury in this case,” Kaplan told Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina, who said he had not seen or been aware of the posts at the time that it was brought to the court’s attention.
“What you’re trying to do is to get away from a statement by your client, a public statement, that on the face of it seems entirely inappropriate,” Kaplan told Tacopina in April.
At that time, Tacopina said he would speak to his client and ask him not to post about the case.
Meanwhile, Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan stated in the Sunday court filing that there is “no doubt” Tacopina spoke to Trump about the posts and that it was “sincerely believed” that the posts would be taken down.
“Unfortunately, the posts remain available on Truth Social as of the time of this filing,” read the court document. “We continue to object to Mr. Trump’s public statements about evidence the Court held to be inadmissible at trial and remain concerned about the prejudice that his statements may have already caused Plaintiff in these proceedings.”
Tacopina said in a February 10 letter that Trump would be willing to provide a DNA sample to be compared to the genetic material found on the dress in exchange for the DNA report that Carroll had commissioned.
“Plaintiff would suffer no unfair prejudice or harm by the production of the full DNA Report. Mr. Trump’s DNA is either on the dress or it is not. Why is the Plaintiff now hiding from this reality?” Tacopina wrote to Kaplan in a pre-trial letter. “We surmise that the answer to that question is that she knows his DNA is not on the dress because the alleged sexual assault never occurred.”
Carroll’s attorneys argued that Trump’s legal team is trying to delay court proceedings by offering to provide DNA and called it a “transparent effort to manufacture a dispute over a document Trump has known about for more than three years.”
The judge agreed with arguments made by Carroll’s attorneys, rejecting Trump’s attempt to offer a DNA sample. The matter of the dress came up again in April, but the judge pointed out that the former president refused to offer a sample for two years and questioned why he would want to offer it in the case now.
Newsweek reached out by email to Trump’s media office for comment.