Trump lawyer says jurors should throw out rape case even if they ‘hate’ ex-president –

Former US President Donald Trump.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

  • Lawyers made opening statements in the rape trial of E. Jean Carroll against Donald Trump.

  • Trump’s lawyer asked jurors to throw out the case even if they “hate” Trump.

  • Jurors remain anonymous given the charged nature of the case.

In his opening statement defending Donald Trump in a rape trial Tuesday, attorney Joe Tacopina asked the jury to find him not liable for assault and defamation, even if they “hate” the former president.

“You can hate Donald Trump. He is fine,” attorney Joe Tacopina told the jury. “But there is a secret time and place for that: it is the ballot box.”

Tacopina’s message to the jury in a federal courthouse in midtown Manhattan followed an opening statement from Shawn Crowley, an attorney representing E. Jean Carroll in the case.

In 2019, Carroll went public with her claim that Trump raped her in a dressing room at Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s.

“He struggled to get free, but he couldn’t,” Crowley said in his opening statement. “Trump was about twice his size.”

When Trump denied the allegations, insulted Carroll’s appearance and called her a liar, she accused him of defamation.

Carroll filed the suit, alleging defamation and assault, late last year after New York state passed a law allowing plaintiffs to bring civil lawsuits for sexual assault in cases where there would otherwise be a statute of limitations.

United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan moved quickly to put him on trial, despite multiple attempts by Trump’s legal team to delay the case. Carroll also has a separate libel suit, over the same claims, which has been delayed by the appellate courts and is still pending.

Crowley said his team would show evidence and present evidence proving Carroll’s version of events, including testimony from friends she told at the time about the alleged rape.

Tacopina, in her own opening statement, said that Carroll and her friends made up the story because she hated Trump’s politics and wanted to become more famous.

Despite the charged nature of the case, jurors sat down within several hours, shortly before court luncheon Tuesday. Kaplan made sure potential jurors were unfamiliar with the details of the case and asked that they remain impartial as they listened to testimony in court. The trial is expected to last about a week overall.

Kaplan arranged to keep jurors anonymous after expressing concern that they could face “harassment or worse” from Trump and his supporters. On Tuesday, the suggested they use fake names throughout the deliberation process to help protect your privacy. Kaplan too asked lawyers for both parties to advise their clients against “making statements that incite violence or civil unrest” to “try to avoid future problems.”

Trump did not appear in person in court on Tuesday and Kaplan did not require him to appear in the case. Tacopina said she did not want to be “distracted” from what he said were inconsistencies in Carroll’s version of events.

“There is nothing more to add,” said Tacopina.

Tacopina said jurors would see him testify through videos of statements he took for the case. On video, Tacopina said, jurors can see Trump appear angry.

“You’re going to see him get angry. That is understandable, he has been falsely accused of rape,” Tacopina said.

Carroll’s team is expected to call their first witness Wednesday morning.

Read the original article at Business Insider

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