“He has no defense”: Judge “calls Trump’s bluff” after he threatens to “confront” E. Jean Carroll

“Trump folded like a meek little mouse," former prosecutor says

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published May 8, 2023 9:00AM (EDT)

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Waco Regional Airport on March 25, 2023 in Waco, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Waco Regional Airport on March 25, 2023 in Waco, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday blew through the final deadline to testify in his defense against E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation allegations.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan gave Trump's legal team until Sunday to file a request for the former president to testify but nothing was filed, according to Politico.

Trump has not shown up for the trial though the jury watched excerpts of his October deposition. Trump attorney Joe Tacopina immediately rested his case on Thursday after Carroll's side wrapped up but Kaplan gave Trump extra time to request to testify after the former president vowed to cut his Ireland trip short to "confront" Carroll.

If Trump misses the deadline, Kaplan warned, "that ship will be irrevocably sailed."

Trump told reporters last week he would "probably attend" the trial.

"I'm going back to New York. I was falsely accused by this woman, I have no idea who she is – it's ridiculous," he claimed. "I'll be going back early because a woman made a claim that is totally false, it's fake," he added.

Trump also called the case a "political attack" and claimed the judge was "extremely hostile" and "doesn't like me very much."

Trump's lawyers were not thrilled with the plan. Shortly after Trump's remarks, Tacopina told the New York Daily News that his client would not be testifying at the trial.

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said "Trump folded like a meek little mouse."

"The judge has called Trump's bluff," she told MSNBC, adding that "what the judge does here is he forecloses Trump's opportunity to tell everybody what a terrible biased judge he had."

Carroll testified during the trial that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman store in the 1990s. The jury also heard from a friend that Carroll told about the alleged assault after it happened and two women who similarly accused Trump of sexual assault. The jury also heard the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump brags about grabbing women "by the pu**y."

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Carroll's "evidence was strong, including her testimony" and corroboration from other witnesses, tweeted former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks. But Trump "has no defense. None. Zero," she wrote.

During one excerpt of his deposition, Trump defended the Access Hollywood tape, doubling down on his belief that fame allows celebrities to take advantage of women.

"Well, historically, that's true with stars," he said. "If you look over the last million years I guess that's been largely true. Not always, but largely true. Unfortunately or fortunately," he added.

Former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade argued that the deposition video was "devastating to his case."

"He affirms the sentiments that he made in that [Access Hollywood] recording. There are 1000 ways you can deflect that recording; you can say, it was an offensive and ill-advised joke. You can say we were just puffing, it was just locker room talk, all these kinds of things," she told MSNBC.

"Not only did he repeat it, he defended it and said yes, he's the kind of person who is entitled to this sort of behavior," she added. "I think it's devastating and damaging. It appears to be a rare moment of candor for Donald Trump… I think it certainly supports the claims of E. Jean Carroll."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Aggregate Donald Trump E Jean Carroll Lewis Kaplan Politics