Judge denies Trump relief from $83.3 million defamation judgment

NEW YORK (AP) — The federal judge who oversaw a New York defamation trial that resulted in an $83.3 million award to a longtime magazine columnist who says Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s refused Thursday to relieve the ex−president from the verdict’s financial pinch.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan told Trump’s attorney in a written order that he won’t delay deadlines for posting a bond that would ensure 80−year−old writer E. Jean Carroll can be paid the award if the judgment survives appeals.

The judge said any financial harm to the Republican front−runner for the presidency results from his slow response to the late−January verdict in the defamation case resulting from statements Trump made about Carroll while he was president in 2019 after she revealed her claims against him in a memoir.

At the time, Trump accused her of making up claims that he raped her in the dressing room of a luxury Manhattan department store in spring 1996. A jury last May at a trial Trump did not attend awarded Carroll $5 million in damages, finding that Trump sexually abused her but did not rape her as rape was defined under New York state law. It also concluded that he defamed her in statements in October 2022.

Trump attended the January trial and briefly testified, though his remarks were severely limited by the judge, who had ruled that the jury had to accept the May verdict and was only to decide how much in damages, if any, Carroll was owed for Trump’s 2019 statements. In the statements, Trump claimed he didn’t know Carroll and accused her of making up lies to sell books and harm him politically.

Trump’s lawyers have challenged the judgment, which included a $65 million punitive award, saying there was a “strong probability” it will be reduced or eliminated on appeal.

In his order Thursday, Kaplan noted that Trump’s lawyers waited 25 days to seek to delay when a bond must be posted. The judgment becomes final Monday.

“Mr. Trump’s current situation is a result of his own dilatory actions,” Kaplan wrote.

The judge noted that Trump’s lawyers seek to delay execution of the jury award until three days after Kaplan rules on their request to suspend the jury award pending consideration of their challenges to the judgment because preparations to post a bond could “impose irreparable injury in the form of substantial costs.”

Kaplan, though, said the expense of ongoing litigation does not constitute irreparable injury.

“Nor has Mr. Trump made any showing of what expenses he might incur if required to post a bond or other security, on what terms (if any) he could obtain a conventional bond, or post cash or other assets to secure payment of the judgment, or any other circumstances relevant to the situation,” the judge said.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, did not immediately comment.

Since the January verdict, a state court judge in New York in a separate case has ordered Trump and his companies to pay $355 million in penalties for a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated his wealth. With interest, he owes the state nearly $454 million.

Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press

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