Trump trial in E. Jean Carroll defamation case delayed because of sick juror

The trial in the defamation case brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll against former President Donald Trump was delayed on Monday because of a sick juror, pushing back Trump’s plans to testify.

Judge Lewis Kaplan said the juror was not feeling well en route to court Monday morning. Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said she too was feeling ill and had a fever. She said she had dinner with her parents three days ago, and they have since been diagnosed with COVID-19. She says Michael Madaio, another Trump attorney, had been exposed as well. 

Habba said both she and Madaio tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday morning.

Trump was in the courtroom on Monday, sitting between Habba and Madaio. He had planned to testify, just one day before the crucial New Hampshire presidential primary. The judge said the court may reconvene at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, but it was not immediately clear if Trump still plans to testify.

Carroll alleges Trump sexually assaulted her in a department store in the 1990s. She has sued Trump twice for defamation over statements he made denying the assault and saying he never met her. 

Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan for federal court on Jan. 22, 2024.
Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan for federal court on Jan. 22, 2024.


Carroll, who testified last week, said Trump attacked her in the dressing room of a high-end New York department store called Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. When she first came forward with her story in New York magazine in 2019, Trump called her a liar and said he had “never met this person in my life.”

Carroll filed her first defamation suit later that year, which is now at trial. She sued a second time over comments Trump made in 2022. The jury in that case awarded her $5 million in May 2023, finding him liable for defamation and sexual abuse. 

The judge in the current case has already determined Trump’s 2019 comments were defamatory, and the jury will now determine what damages Trump must pay.

Trump has continuously and frequently denied the allegations. His ongoing denials are an issue in the trial, where he has denounced the case within earshot of the jury, and where Carroll’s attorneys have said they want an award that will “make him stop.”

One expert called to testify by Carroll’s attorneys said it could cost up to $12.1 million to repair the harm Trump caused to Carroll’s reputation with his denials after she came forward.

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