Donald Trump lawyers push for rape trial delay, citing legal funding revelation

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New York: New revelations that a major contributor to Democrats helped finance a lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of rape is fresh reason to delay this month’s trial for a month, a lawyer for the former president. But his accuser’s attorney claims Trump just wants to avoid trial.

The Republican also met with lawyers for Attorney General Letitia James, who sued Trump last year claiming the ex-president misled banks and business associates.

Former president Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York.Credit: AP

The request by attorney Alina Habba on Trump’s rape trail is the second time this week that a Trump lawyer has asked to delay the April 25 trial resulting from a lawsuit in which columnist E. Jean Carroll says Trump raped her in 1996 in a upscale Manhattan department store dressing room.

Earlier this week, Trump attorney Joe Tacopina asked for a one-month delay, saying adverse publicity over Trump’s arrest last week on criminal charges in New York state court made a delay necessary.

Trump has denied that he raped Carroll and has accused the former longtime Elle magazine columnist and her lawyer of being politically driven after Carroll disclosed her claims for the first time publicly in a 2019 memoir while Trump was still president.

In her letter Thursday, Habba said Carroll’s lawyers had disclosed for the first time this week that they had received funding from American Future Republic, a social welfare organisation funded by Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn.

Habba wrote that the revelation raises significant questions about Carroll’s credibility and motives for suing Trump in November after New York state enacted a law allowing victims to sue those who committed sexual abuse against them, even if it happened decades ago.

E. Jean Carroll, who alleges Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in a New York department store dressing room in the 1990s, is suing him for defamation.Credit: AP

She said it also goes to the heart of Trump’s defence because he has consistently labelled Carroll’s claims a “con job” and a “hoax” and has questioned whether she is pushing a political agenda or being funded by a rival political party.

Hoffman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer, responded in a letter to the court on Thursday, asking the judge to deny Trump’s latest bid for a delay to the trial.

“One thing is clear — Trump will stop at nothing to avoid having a jury hear Carroll’s claims,” she wrote.

Kaplan said her client was preparing for trial recently when she recalled hearing that her lawyers, who were operating on a contingency fee basis, had also secured funding from a nonprofit organisation. Carroll’s lawyers then notified Trump’s lawyers, who demanded to know the source of the funding.

Meanwhile, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals released a written opinion on Thursday providing additional legal insight that the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals can use to decide if the United States can be substituted for Trump as the defendant in a defamation lawsuit Carroll filed before her November rape lawsuit.

The 2nd Circuit had asked the D.C. court to provide insight into the law addressing when an employer should be liable for the actions of its employee.

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman’s organisation has given money to lawyers for E. Jean Carroll.Credit: Bloomberg

The D.C. court said it lacked facts to recommend whether it believed that allegedly libellous statements Trump made after Carroll’s rape claims became public fell within the scope of his employment as president.

It did attempt to clarify the law, though it noted that most of its case law on the subject pertained to disputes over whether law enforcement individuals could be held personally liable.

The defamation lawsuit eventually will be dismissed if the United States is substituted as a defendant, and a trial might become unnecessary otherwise because the November rape lawsuit also contains a defamation claim against Trump.

In an unrelated case, Trump answered questions for nearly seven hours during his second deposition in a legal battle with New York’s attorney general over his company’s business practices, reversing an earlier decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and remain silent.

The Republican met all day with lawyers for Attorney General Letitia James, who sued Trump last year. Her lawsuit claims Trump and his family misled banks and business associates by giving them false information about his net worth and the value of assets such as hotels and golf courses.

Former president Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate after being indicted over hush money payments.Credit: AP

Shortly after Trump entered the Manhattan skyscraper that houses James’ offices, his attorney, Alina Habba, said he was “not only willing but also eager to testify.”

“He remains resolute in his stance that he has nothing to conceal, and he looks forward to educating the Attorney General about the immense success of his multi-billion dollar company,” Habba said in a statement.

The lawsuit is unrelated to the felony criminal charges filed against Trump by the Manhattan district attorney, which led last week to his historic arraignment, the first for a former president.

In a social media post Thursday morning, Trump called the suit “ridiculous, just like all of the other Election Interference cases being brought against me.”


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