Jury begins deliberating after Trump storms out of court

After Trump stood up from the defense table and walked to the door, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan interrupted Roberta Kaplan, who isn’t related to the judge. “Excuse me. The record will reflect that Donald Trump just rose and walked out of the courtroom.”

When Trump legal adviser Boris Epshteyn, who attended the proceedings but isn’t a formal member of Trump’s legal team on the Carroll case, subsequently stood up, the judge admonished him. “Defense counsel ought to remain seated. And that includes you, Mr. Epshteyn, even though you aren’t part of the defense counsel,” the judge said.

Prior to the start of the trial, the judge
ruled that Trump defamed Carroll
by saying in 2019 that he had never met her and that her book, in which she accused him of having raped her decades earlier, “should be sold in the fiction section.”

The only question for the jury to decide was how much in damages Trump should pay.

Roberta Kaplan told the nine jurors they should award at least $24 million in compensatory damages, but didn’t pinpoint a figure for punitive damages, reminding jurors that Trump claims to be a billionaire.

“With that sort of extreme wealth, it will take an unusually high punitive damages award to have any hope of stopping Donald Trump,” she said.

“While Donald Trump may not care about the law and he certainly doesn’t care about the truth,” Roberta Kaplan said, “he does care about money.”

Trump returned to the courtroom to hear his own lawyer, Alina Habba, deliver her closing arguments, in which she suggested Carroll welcomed the attention she received after going public with her accusations.

Habba also said Carroll’s own claims about Trump — and not Trump’s comments in response — were the reason Carroll received threatening messages on social media.

“We watched six days of a plaintiff trying to pin Twitter trolls’ comments on a former president of the United States without accepting any responsibility for the media and the press frenzy and the public profile that she wanted and still enjoys,” Habba said.

Habba attempted multiple times to suggest Trump had properly defended himself by lashing out at Carroll.

“He has said the same thing over and over again, and do you know why?” Habba said. “It’s the truth.”

But the judge stopped Habba, telling the jury repeatedly that “it is established” by law that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll and that his statements were, in fact, defamatory.

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