A New York federal judge threatened to kick former President Trump out of his courtroom for being “disruptive” during a trial proceeding Wednesday determining how much he owes writer E. Jean Carroll for defaming her after she alleged he raped her.
“Mr. Trump has the right to be present here. That right can be forfeited and it can be forfeited if he is disruptive, which what has been reported to me consists of. And if he disregards court orders, Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial,” U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said Wednesday, according to CNN.
“I understand you’re probably eager for me to do that,” the judge continued.
“I know you would,” Kaplan said back. “You just can’t control yourself in this circumstance, apparently.”
“You can’t either,” Trump muttered, according to The Associated Press.
The judge’s warning to Trump followed a complaint from Carroll’s lawyer that Trump disregarded orders from the judge to “keep his voice down” and had continued making comments about the case audible to jurors, including that the trial is a “witch hunt” and “con job.”
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Earlier in the day, Trump had made comments insinuating that Carroll was lying about her assault and that she seemed to have “gotten her memory back,” according to Carroll lawyer Shawn Crowley.
Carroll has claimed that Trump forced himself on her in a luxury department store dressing room after a chance meeting in 1996. After she told the story publicly in a 2019 memoir, he publicly undercut her honesty and motive for coming forward, she says.
Trump has denied wrongdoing, saying he never met her and that nothing happened between them.
A previous trial in the case occurred last May, when a jury determined Trump did sexually abuse and defame Carroll but that the columnist had not proven her claim that the former president raped her. Trump did not attend that trial, which ended with Carroll being awarded $5 million in damages.
Now, Carroll is seeking some $10 million in compensatory damages and millions more in punitive damages.
Trump has used his legal battles to better his standing in the GOP presidential primary. During his months-long fraud trial, also in New York, the former president made frequent stump speeches from the courthouse hallways and raised money off his presence there. He also butted heads with the judge in that case, whom he decried as “Trump hating” and politically biased against him.
Trump coasted to a victory in the Iowa caucuses this week and heads to next week’s New Hampshire primary as the favorite. He’s also edging out President Biden in various national polls.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This story was updated at 1:53 p.m.