Trump storms out of NYC courtroom at E. Jean Carroll defamation trial


Donald Trump stormed out of E. Jean Carroll’s defamation damages trial just minutes into closing arguments by the writer’s lawyer Friday morning.

“This case is about how to compensate Ms. Carroll for the harm that Mr. Trump’s original statements — going back to June 2019 — caused her,” Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said in Manhattan Federal Court.

“This case is also about punishing Donald Trump for what he has done and for what he continues to do,” Kaplan said. “Right up to and including this very trial.”

Kaplan said a brazen Trump had continued to disparage her client even after being found liable for sexual assault and defamation in her other lawsuit against him last May, showing he doesn’t think the rules that apply to everyone else apply to him.

“This trial is about getting him to stop once and for all.”

E. Jean Carroll arrives for her civil defamation trial against former President Donald Trump at Manhattan Federal Court on January 26, 2024 in New York City. Closing arguments are slated to begin today in Carroll's civil defamation trial against former President Trump. The trial is to determine how much money in damages the former president must pay Carroll after public comments he made both while he was president and after the jury’s verdict in May. Carroll was awarded $5 million in damages in May from the previous lawsuit. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, CM - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **
E. Jean Carroll arrives for her civil defamation trial against former President Donald Trump at Manhattan Federal Court on January 26, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Minutes after the attorney began speaking, Trump suddenly got out of his chair and left the courtroom.

“Excuse me. The record will reflect that[Trump] just rose and walked out of the courtroom,” Judge Lewis Kaplan interjected, then ordered his lawyers to remain in their seats.

Trump later returned to the courtroom for his lawyer Alina Habba’s closing arguments.

Carroll, 80, is seeking at least $10 million in compensation for two statements then-President Trump issued in 2019 when she first accused him of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room decades ago.

The case on trial concerns the original suit she filed against him, which was delayed by years as he argued she couldn’t sue for things he said as president. The defamation claim in the case she won regarded comments made after his presidency.

Alina Habba, one of ex-President Donald Trump's attorneys arrives at Trump Tower, Friday, Jan 26, 2024, in New York. Closing arguments are to begin Friday in the defamation case against Trump a day after the former president left a New York courtroom fuming that he hadn't been given an opportunity to refute E. Jean Carroll's sexual abuse accusations. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Alina Habba, one of ex-President Donald Trump’s attorneys arrives at Trump Tower, Friday, Jan 26, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

The “Ask E. Jean” advice columnist’s lawyers have asked the jury to award her millions more in punitive damages to deter Trump from continuing to defame her, as he has done throughout the trial.

“Donald Trump is worth billions of dollars, he said that under oath,” Kaplan said, citing Trump’s testimony at his civil fraud trial. “With that sort of extreme wealth, it will take an unusually high punitive damages award to have any hope of stopping Donald Trump.”

Kaplan continued her closing without pausing when Trump got up and left. She said the damage to Carroll’s reputation and the mental toll couldn’t be understated, noting that the statements in question reached at least 100 million people. Trump claimed Carroll had fabricated the incident to sell copies of her book in cahoots with the Democrats.

“Because he had such a huge microphone, the damage he caused was significant,” she said.

The attorney said Trump’s comments last week — that he’d never met Carroll and would repeat it “a thousand times” — were the most damning.

“Are you kidding me?” the lawyer said. “Donald Trump has openly made it his mission to destroy Ms. Carroll’s reputation … He’s prepared to keep doing it a thousand times — unless you make him stop.”

Former President Donald Trump leaves his apartment building, Friday, Jan 26, 2024, in New York. Closing arguments are to begin Friday in the defamation case against Trump a day after the former president left a New York courtroom fuming that he hadn't been given an opportunity to refute E. Jean Carroll's sexual abuse accusations. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Former President Donald Trump leaves his apartment building, Friday, Jan 26, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Kaplan said that while Trump “may not care about the law” and “certainly” didn’t care about the truth, “he does care about money.”

“I know that you will do the right thing and stand up not just for E. Jean Carroll but for the principle that the rule of law applies to all of us,” Kaplan says.

“Even the rich and powerful. Even Donald Trump.”

This developing story will be updated. 



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