One legal case that could prove even more politically costly to former President Donald Trump than any of his criminal cases is set to go forward after a judge ruled against Trump’s request for a delay.
Trump’s Delay Tactic
When lawyers for a defendant ask for the civil case that alleges the client raped a woman years ago to be delayed, on account of that same man having recently been indicted in New York for a completely unrelated crime, that’s not usually a sign that the man in question is on track to compete for the presidency of the United States.
But as we’ve seen over and over again, Donald Trump isn’t like most people.
Per NBC News, a federal judge ruled Monday that the civil trial in the case involving E. Jean Carroll’s accusation that she was raped by the former president in 1996 will go ahead as scheduled. Trump’s attorneys had asked that the trial be pushed back four weeks, for a “cooling off period” after Trump’s indictment in New York earlier this month.
After the ruling from Judge Lewis Kaplan, the trial is set to begin as scheduled on April 25, a week from now.
“This case is entirely unrelated to the state prosecution,” Kaplan wrote in the decision, as reported by NBC News. “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.”
Trump’s Deny Tactic
Trump has maintained throughout that he did not sexually assault Carroll, a well-known journalist who wrote for Elle magazine. Carroll first made the charges in a memoir published in 2019.
Trump faces the Manhattan charges involving his alleged arrangement of hush money payments for Stormy Daniels, as well as the open investigations in both Georgia and from the office of the Special Counsel, Trump will also contend with a trial that alleges he once committed rape.
It’s not clear if Trump will appear in person for the trial. It is not a criminal trial but rather entails Carroll suing him, for both the alleged assault itself as well as defamation. The suit was made possible by New York’s 2022 passing of the Adult Survivor’s Act, which temporarily lifted statutes of limitations for sexual assault lawsuits.
“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.”
Growing Number of Investigations and Cases
It’s not the only civil lawsuit that Trump is facing in New York. New York Attorney General Letitia James’ case against the former president, the topic of a deposition last week, is scheduled to head to trial in October. The case accuses Trump and his three oldest children of “staggering” fraud and seeks $250 million, and also to bar them all from serving as officers of a public company. Trump, per the Times, did not take the Fifth Amendment in the deposition.
In other words, Trump is going to be facing indictments, hearings, and trials frequently over the course of the next 18 months, at the same time that he’s attempting to run for president. And while some Trump supporters believe that the Manhattan indictment, in particular, will serve to benefit his political fortunes, it seems unlikely that a year of nonstop news involving bad things Trump has been accused of — especially if it involves words and phrases like fraud, “staggering fraud,” falsification of business records, election interference, and especially rape — will ultimately be good for his chances.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.