A lawyer for the writer E. Jean Carroll, whose latest defamation lawsuit against Donald J. Trump is scheduled for trial next week in Manhattan, asked a judge Friday to ensure that if the former president testifies, that he does not stray beyond the narrow issue in the case, with the goal of “turning this trial into a circus.”
“If Mr. Trump appears at this trial, whether as a witness or otherwise,” the lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, wrote in a letter, “his recent statements and behavior strongly suggest that he will seek to sow chaos.”
In the letter, which comes just four days before jury selection is to begin in Federal District Court, Ms. Kaplan cited Mr. Trump’s continued derogatory public comments about Ms. Carroll and his behavior in another case involving him this week.
On Thursday, Mr. Trump attended the final day of trial in the New York attorney general’s civil fraud case against him, where — after the judge allowed him to argue on his own behalf — he attacked the attorney general, Letitia James, called himself the victim of fraud and assailed the judge to his face. Afterward, Mr. Trump told reporters that he also planned to attend Ms. Carroll’s trial.
“I’m going to explain I don’t know who the hell she is,” he said. “I have no idea.”
But the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, has already ruled that the jury in a May civil trial found Mr. Trump liable for sexually assaulting Ms. Carroll in a department store dressing room in the 1990s and later defamed her. The judge thus has limited the trial next week to one issue — what damages, if any, Mr. Trump must pay Ms. Carroll for defaming her on a separate occasion in 2019 when he called her allegation “totally false.”
The request by Ms. Carroll’s lawyer to constrain Mr. Trump, 77, comes as he has lashed out at her while moving among courthouses and political stops in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. On a single day recently, he issued a flurry of derisive posts about her on his Truth Social website, and last weekend, while campaigning in Iowa, he accused her of fabricating her claim and called the judge in the case a “radical Democrat in New York.”
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