Former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance on Sunday said she feels that the judge presiding over the civil trial against former President Donald Trump did the “smart thing” by calling Trump’s “bluff.”
Vance made the comments on MSNBC while discussing the trial for the lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll against Trump. Carroll is suing Trump over allegations that he defamed her character when he denied sexually assaulting her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, including insulting her appearance. Trump has denied any wrongdoing in connection to the rape and defamation allegations made by Carroll in her lawsuit.
According to Vance, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan outplayed Trump, who the former attorney said was trying to set up Kaplan as looking “biased” should the ruling not be in Trump’s favor.
Trump on Thursday told reporters from his golf course in Doonbeg, Ireland, that he would have to cut his trip to the country short in order to return to the United States and testify at the trial.
Both sides in the suit rested their cases later on Thursday. However, Kaplan offered an extended deadline for Trump to testify in his own defense, giving the former president until Sunday to petition the court to reopen the case.
By providing Trump with more time to make an appearance, Vance said Kaplan had outsmarted the former president.
“The judge has called Trump’s bluff, because Trump makes this overblown statement on a golf course in Ireland, telling people I have to cut my trip short early and go back home to defend myself against these terrible allegations,” Vance said.
“Literally within hours of him doing that, his lawyer is in court, telling the judge that he is done presenting his evidence, and that’s sort of a lock in a trial,” she added.
Vance told the MSNBC guest host Michael Steele, who was filling in for Ali Velshi, that “once you close, everything is over, no more evidence comes in.”
“Judge Kaplan, I think, did the smart thing here; he calls Trump’s bluff. He says, ‘Okay, your client says he’s going to testify, he says he has to leave Europe early and fly home. I’m gonna bend over backward and give him every opportunity,’” Vance said.
Vance continued, “And ultimately, what the judge does by doing this—and I suspect Trump will not testify, if he does, that would be an entirely different situation for his lawyers to try to deal with—but what the judge does here is he forecloses Trump’s opportunity to tell everybody what a terrible, biased judge he had, and how they prejudiced him and didn’t let him testify.”
Trump’s lawyers did not meet the Sunday deadline on Sunday to request that he testify.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s lawyer via email for comment.