Trump ‘wishes’ to attend rape accuser’s trial: Lawyer

Donald Trump has denied E Jean Carroll's accusations he sexually assaulted her in 1995 or 1996.

Donald Trump has denied E Jean Carroll's accusations he sexually assaulted her in 1995 or 1996. Photo: AAP

Donald Trump wants to attend a trial involving the writer E Jean Carroll, who has accused him of rape, but might not because of security issues the former US president’s appearance would cause, his lawyer says.

In a letter to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan federal court, Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina said while Mr Trump “wishes to appear at trial”, the judge should instruct jurors not to hold it against him if he stays away.

The lawyer said a Trump appearance would prompt a repeat of the disruption caused on April 4, when Mr Trump pleaded not guilty in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s criminal case over hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

He asked that jurors be told Mr Trump’s absence “avoids the logistical burdens that his presence, as the former president, would cause the courthouse and New York City”.

“Accordingly, his presence is excused unless and until he is called by either party to testify,” Mr Tacopina wrote.

Mr Trump is the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential campaign.

Mr Tacopina also represents Mr Trump in District Attorney Bragg’s criminal case.

Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Ms Carroll, called Mr Trump’s argument “frivolous” in a letter to the judge, to whom she is not related.

“The notion that Mr Trump would not appear as some sort of favour to the City of New York — and that the jury should be instructed as much — taxes the credulity of the credulous,” she wrote.

Carroll’s lawyer said if Mr Trump could find time in April to attend a UFC wrestling event and a National Rifle Association meeting, and make a planned New Hampshire campaign stop two days after jury selection is to begin, “surely he could surmount the logistics of attending his own federal trial”.

On the day of Mr Trump’s plea, the southbound FDR Drive was closed for Mr Trump’s motorcade to the criminal court.

Several blocks around the court were also closed.

Tacopina said if Mr Trump attended Ms Carroll’s trial, the Secret Service would be needed to co-ordinate his movement, parts of the courthouse and surrounding area would be closed, and some courthouse personnel would be confined to their offices.

Ms Carroll, 79, has accused Mr Trump of defamation by denying on his Truth Social platform that he raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan in the mid-1990s.

She is also suing for battery.

The trial could last five to seven days.

Ms Carroll plans to attend every day.

Mr Trump has until Thursday to advise whether he plans to attend at all.


Topics: Donald Trump
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