Former President Donald Trump was dealt a blow in federal court this week, when his request to stop the proceedings in the defamation trial brought by E. Jean Carroll was denied.
Trump’s legal team had requested last week that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put a delay on the trial for 90 days. His team requested the delay so Trump could consider making an appeal over a previous rejection the court issued regarding his attempts to use presidential immunity as part of his defense.
That request was denied on Thursday, which means the trial will proceed as planned, with a start date of January 16.
The appeals court had previously ruled unanimously that the fact that Trump waited three years to make his claim of presidential immunity was too long to use it as a defense in this defamation trial.
Trump has argued that, since he was president when he made remarks about Carroll in 2019, he couldn’t be held liable in court for them. In addition, he was claiming that the comments he made were related to official duties he had when he was president, because he had to speak publicly and defend himself against what he called false accusations.
The appeals court pointed out, though, that when Carroll filed the defamation suit back in November 2019 and Trump responded in January 2020, he never brought up presidential immunity as part of his defense. In fact, he didn’t include that as part of his defense until January of this year.
As such, the judges ruled that allowing Trump to use presidential immunity as part of his defense would end up causing “undue prejudice” to Carroll.
Carroll, a writer for magazines, brought this second defamation suit against Trump after winning a $5 million verdict against him earlier this year.
She has alleged that the former president assaulted her in the mid-1990s and then defamed her when she spoke publicly about it in 2019. Trump has denied the allegations, but he lost the case this year, with a judgment of $5 million against him. He is appealing that decision, though.
This second trial revolves around comments that Trump made about Carroll both while he was in the White House and after the verdict in the first case was handed down. That includes disparaging comments he made about her such as saying she’s a “whack job.”
The new trial will only focus on what monetary damages, if any, Carroll will be entitled to. It’s expected to last anywhere from three to five days.
Back in June, Lewis Kaplan, a U.S. District judge, denied the former president’s immunity argument. In his ruling, he wrote that presidential immunity is “not a ‘get out of damages liability free’ card.”
Presidential immunity is something that Trump has raised in the other cases pending against him, including his election interference criminal trial that was brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.