Judge rules jury will be kept anonymous in Trump, E. Jean Carroll defamation case

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Judge rules jury will be kept anonymous in Trump, E. Jean Carroll defamation case

The jury in writer E. Jean Carroll’s original defamation case against former President Trump will be kept anonymous, a New York judge federal judge ruled Friday.

Judge Lewis Kaplan cited Trump’s “repeated public statements” about Carroll and in his numerous other court cases as part of the reasoning for his decision. Trump is currently facing a pair of narrow gag orders limiting his speech in two separate legal trials.

“In view of Mr. Trump’s repeated public statements with respect to the plaintiff and court in this case as well as in other cases against him, and the extensive media coverage that this case already has received and that is likely to increase once the trial is imminent or underway, the Court finds that there is strong reason to believe the jury requires the protections” of anonymity, Kaplan wrote.

The case represents Carroll’s first defamation claim against the former president. A second suit was brought to trial in May, where an anonymous jury’s verdict came down in the author’s favor. The verdict found Trump liable for sexual abuse and ruled he defamed Carroll with comments he made against her claims.

He was ordered to pay $5 million in damages.

The upcoming defamation trial is over comments Trump made about Carroll in 2019 following the release of her memoir. A federal appeals court has yet to rule on Trump’s claim that absolute presidential immunity protects him from the lawsuit, as he was president at the time of the comments.

The suit also includes comments Trump made about Carroll following the May verdict. She is seeking $10 million in damages.

The trial is scheduled for Jan. 16.

The gag orders in other trials prevent Trump from disparaging court employees or witnesses. He was fined $15,000 for two violations of the gag order in his New York civil trial alleging business fraud.

Trump appealed the gag order on his Washington-based federal criminal trial over election interference claims, which is more strict. That order was stayed late Friday.