Lawyer Claims Donald Trump Judge is Challenging Him by Extending an Opportunity to Testify

The judge in E. Jean Carroll’s sexual battery and defamation civil trial against Donald Trump is “calling his bluff” after giving the former president a deadline to decide if he will testify in his own defense, according to a legal expert.

In court filings on Thursday, New York Judge Lewis Kaplan granted Trump until 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 7, in order to file a motion to re-open his case for the “sole purpose” of testifying as a witness in the case.

Trump has not been present throughout the civil trial involving the former Elle columnist who has accused him of sexual battery, and then defaming her character while denying that the alleged assault at a New York Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s took place.

The former president is under no legal obligation to attend the civil trial in person, and is currently on a tour of Scotland and Ireland to visit his golf resorts. Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, recently told Kaplan that the defense would not call any witnesses as part of the civil case against Trump, including the former president.

Donald Trump gestures during a round of golf at his Turnberry course on May 2, 2023 in Turnberry, Scotland. The former president suggested he will return to New York to attend his sexual battery and defamation civil trial.

However, Trump told reporters at a golf course he owns in Doonbeg, Ireland, on Wednesday that he will “probably” return to New York to attend the trial.

“I have to go back for a woman that made a false accusation about me, and I have a judge who is extremely hostile,” Trump said. “And I’m going to go back, and I’m going to confront this.”

Ron Filipkowski, an attorney and former federal prosecutor, said the judge is forcing Trump to make a decision rather than tease his appearance with the latest motion.

Filipkowski also suggested that it is highly unlikely that the former president will testify in the case, citing the infamous moment in the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial where the NFL star was asked by the prosecution team to try on a bloodied glove found at the scene of the crime, which did not fit him.

“No freakin way he testifies. Judge is calling his bluff,” Filipkowski tweeted. “This would be the dumbest move since the DA had OJ try on a glove that was in an evidence locker for months. Then again, we are talking about Trump, so.”

Currently, closing arguments in the case are scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on Monday, unless Trump decides he will testify.

Attorney Sherif Edmond El Dabe, a partner with Los Angeles-based El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, said there are risks if Trump either does or does not decide to testify in his own case.

“The burden is on Carroll to prove her case. Conceivably Donald Trump can win the case without any witnesses or evidence if the plaintiff does not uphold her burden. Not calling any evidence in your defense case can be a risky move, and is unconventional, but Trump is very good at getting his message across in unconventional ways,” El Dabe told Newsweek.

“Regarding Donald Trump’s strategy of waiting until the very end to make his decision regarding testimony, Judges do not like unpredictability in trials. But ultimately, they cannot control everything about the trial, and the defense has until the moment they rest to decide whether or not to call Donald Trump

“Studies have shown that there are primacy and recency biases, which means that jurors tend to remember the first and the last thing they hear. Closing arguments will be very important in this case.”

Ahead of the trial, Tacopina requested if Trump did not attend the trial in person, that the jury be informed it would be because the former president would be sparing “logistical burdens” on the courthouse and New York City by preventing the closing of streets and arranging of Secret Service protection.

Kaplan rejected this request, noting that Trump has had “ample time” to make the necessary arrangements for him to attend the courthouse. Kaplan also noted Trump was able to quickly arrange for Secret Service protection at a rally he announced he was to hold in New Hampshire on April 27.

“Mr. Trump is free to attend, to testify, or both,” Kaplan wrote in his order. “He is also free to do none of those things.”

Trump’s legal team has been contacted for comment via email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *