Live updates: Closing arguments in E Jean Carroll defamation trial against Trump

Trump delivers brief, fiery testimony during 2nd defamation trial

Closing arguments are underway in Donald Trump’s defamation trial in New York in the second case brought against him by writer E Jean Carroll.

The former president testified for just three minutes on Thursday under strict guidelines as to what he could say and answered only a handful of questions.

A previous jury has already found Mr Trump liable for sexually abusing Ms Carroll in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s and for subsequently defaming her. He continues to vigorously deny the allegations.

The trial has seen tense exchanges between the former president’s lawyer, Alina Habba, and Judge Lewis Kaplan including a warning that she was “on the verge of spending some time in the lockup” as court began on Friday.

Moments after Ms Carroll’s lawyer began presenting her closing argument, Mr Trump stood up and walked out of the courtroom — with the judge noting it for the record. He returned for the defence summation.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump rejected a draft resolution submitted to the Republican National Committee to recognise him as the GOP’s “presumptive nominee” in the wake of his victory in the New Hampshire presidential primary on Tuesday over his last remaining opponent Nikki Haley.


Habba argues that Ms Carroll cannot prove causation from Mr Trump’s comments and tweets to the abuse she endured.

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 16:26


Trump defence begins closing argument

Donald Trump walked back into the courtroom in advance of the defence closing argument which is being delivered by Alina Habba.

She begins: “That was some rendition of the facts.”

Habba continues by saying that Ms Carroll is trying to “pin Twitter trolls’ comments on a former President of the United States”.

She further says Ms Carroll ignores “the media and press frenzy” and “the public profile that she still enjoys”.

Of Mr Trump’s version of events and defence, she says: “You know why he has not wavered — because it’s the truth.”

This sparks an objection from Ms Carroll’s team which Judge Kaplan sustains noting that this was proved false at the previous trial.

After Habba tries that line of argument again, the judge warns: “If you violate my instructions again, Ms Habba, there may be consequences.”

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 16:25


Haley calls Trump ‘disgruntled’ and ‘vengeful’ as she spars with Fox hosts over electability

Fox News host Bill Hemmer told the former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor, “You went on to say there a moment ago that he was ‘totally unhinged’ … Coming out of New Hampshire, he won 74 per cent of Republicans. To date, 109 counties have voted and you’ve won two, and one of those by a single vote. When do you start winning Republicans?”

Ms Haley said that she “will win Republicans”.

“But guess who else I win? I win moderates. And I win independents, which he does not. That is why he lost in 2018. That’s why he lost in 2020. That’s why he lost in 2022. And that’s why in every poll, you see, he loses to Joe Biden, and I win,” she argued.

Gustaf Kilander reports on Ms Haley’s latest appearance on the news network:

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 16:15


Kaplan concludes closing argument

Roberta Kaplan concludes by telling the jury that when they deliberate later today, consider that they have a former President of the United States who has shown contempt for the rule of law and the system of justice. She tells them to stand up for E Jean Carroll and the rule of law.

If not, she adds, no one would ever be safe from bullies.

She tells them that there is a way and that they have the opportunity, maybe even the responsibility, to put an end to this right now with their verdict and make him pay for what he has done.

She echoes Mr Trump’s own attack on Ms Carroll in 2019, saying: “Now is the time to make him pay for it… dearly.”

The court goes on a morning break.

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 16:13


Kaplan suggests total of $24m in compensation and more in punitive damages

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 16:09


Twenty-five years after Donald Trump sexually assaulted her, Ms Carroll came forward to tell her story. In response, Donald Trump sought out to ruin her life. Wielding his position as president, he attacked her integrity and her honesty and not only denied the sexual assault, but he said that she made it up for money or fame or was part of a conspiracy.

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 16:02


We’re all human beings, and we’re all capable of understanding the pain and suffering Ms. Carroll has experienced. In our view, the damage to Ms Carroll’s sense of self — to her peace of mind — the feeling that we all have that we can go about our lives every day and not be suddenly attacked or raped or killed is very significant, so the dollar number to compensate for that has to be very large.

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 15:58


Kaplan says dollar amount must be ‘very large’ to compensate Carroll

Continuing her closing argument, Roberta Kaplan reminds the jury of the testimony of reputational damage specialist Professor Ashlee Humphreys who estimated that it would cost between $7m and $12m to rebuild Ms Carroll’s standing.

Kaplan says the attacks on Ms Carroll online have never stopped since that day in June 2019.

In addition to compensation, Kaplan asks how much money will it take in punitive damages to make Mr Trump stop his attacks (he attacked Ms Carroll in a Truth Social video just last night).

Kaplan says Mr Trump said Ms Carroll made the sexual assault up, said she was a disgrace; he threatened her twice, and he unleashed millions of others to flood her with hate.

“We played his deposition — he called her mentally sick and threatened to sue,” she adds.

Kaplan also reminds the jury of Mr Trump’s claims about his personal wealth and the value of his properties — the subject of his other civil trial — and notes that he did not come to the first defamation trial but has shown up today because he cares about money and how much they might potentially award Ms Carroll.

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 15:48


Haley trolls Trump over threat to ban donors from MAGA camp

Here’s Martha McHardy with more on the Republican challenger hitting back over Trump’s donor excommunication rant with reactive merchandise.

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 15:45


Developing: Trump storms out of closing arguments in E Jean Carroll trial

The former president arrived in federal court in Manhattan on Friday morning after briefly testifying in his defence on Thursday afternoon, after which he unleashed more attacks and potentially defamatory statements about the former Elle magazine columnist.

Alex Woodward has been closely following the trial and filed this report:

Oliver O’Connell26 January 2024 15:29

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