Former President Donald Trump’s physical and verbal reactions to writer E. Jean Carroll’s testimony against him prompted a judge to threaten to remove Trump from the federal courtroom, according to multiple outlets.
Shawn Crowley, an attorney for Carroll, told Judge Lewis Kaplan before a midmorning break on Wednesday that Trump had been “loudly saying things,” ABC News reported. She repeated her complaint a second time after jurors filed out for a lunch break.
Journalists in the New York City courtroom, where video cameras are banned, observed Trump shaking his head, scoffing and angrily speaking with his attorney Alina Habba.
At various points, Trump reportedly remarked “She now seems to have gotten her memory back,” and “It’s false.” He also reportedly called the judge a “nasty guy,” and used terms like “con job” and “witch hunt.”
During the lunch break, Kaplan said he would make Trump leave if he continued to disrupt proceedings.
“Mr. Trump has the right to be present here,” Kaplan said, according to ABC News. “That right can be forfeited and it can be forfeited if he is disruptive, which is what has been reported to me.”
“Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial,” he said. “I understand you are probably very eager for me to do that.”
“I would love it,” Trump replied.
“I know you would,” Kaplan said, according to CNN. “You just can’t control yourself in this circumstance, apparently.”
“You can’t either,” Trump muttered, per The Associated Press.
This is the second time Carroll has shared her story on the stand, but the first time Trump has heard her in person. He did not attend a trial last April that Carroll brought under New York’s Adult Survivors Act.
Lawyer Alina Habba leaves Trump Tower for Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Kaplan had taken a gentler tone with Trump. After the midmorning break, the judge reportedly said he was “going to ask Mr. Trump to take special care to keep his voice down when he’s conferring with counsel so that the jury does not overhear it.”
CNN described the judge as “not too stern,” in a departure from the tone Kaplan has taken in various tense exchanges with Habba.
In one particularly charged moment, Habba requested that Kaplan adjourn the trial on Thursday so Trump could attend his mother-in-law’s funeral — a request the judge had previously heard and denied, as Trump is not required to be in court himself.
“I will hear no further argument on it. None. Do you understand that word? None. Please sit down,” Kaplan reportedly said.
Habba then told the judge: “I will not be spoken to that way, Your Honor.”
Kaplan instructed her to sit down.
Habba’s cross-examination of Carroll drew further admonishment from the judge Wednesday afternoon.
When Habba could not readily provide a copy of Carroll’s deposition after making reference to it, Kaplan reportedly told her: “We are going to do it my way in the courtroom, and that is all there is to it.”
When Habba attempted to read from a threatening message Carroll received that had not yet been entered into evidence, Kaplan interjected, reportedly dismissing the jury for an impromptu break.
“You should refresh your memory about how it is you get a document into evidence,” Kaplan told Habba, per CNN.
Carroll maintains that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s. Trump forcefully denies the accusation, and has called Carroll a liar who is making things up to sell books.
A panel of New York jurors is expected to decide how much Trump should pay for defamation. Carroll is asking for upward of $10 million.
The former president is seen waving to spectators as he leaves Trump Tower for court on Wednesday. The nature of the red marks on his hand was not immediately clear.
Carroll, an advice columnist, said in her testimony that Trump “shattered my reputation,” AP reported.
“Now, I’m known as the liar, the fraud and the whack job,” Carroll reportedly said, adding that she receives far fewer letters asking for advice than she used to. She has reportedly fielded “hundreds” of messages threatening violence, some of which made her fear she might be shot.
After Kaplan threatened to toss him out, Trump posted complaints about the judge to his Truth Social page, expressing regret that he did not attend the first trial with Carroll last year.
“The Judge in the Trial that I am attending today is a totally biased and hostile person,” Trump wrote.
In another post, he said he feels “an obligation to be at every moment of this ridiculous trial because we have a seething and hostile Clinton-appointed Judge, Lewis Kaplan, who suffers from a major case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
The court system, Trump wrote, was “crooked” and “RIGGED.”
Trump also staged a press conference after court adjourned. He used the time to further criticize the judge — again calling him a “nasty guy” — and to repeat his claim that he “never had anything to do with” Carroll.
“I should be given money, given damages,” Trump added.
Last year, a jury in a separate trial found that Trump sexually abused and defamed Carroll, which is why the currently empaneled jury is focusing on monetary damages, rather than the veracity of Carroll’s claims.
Although the previous jury determined Trump did not technically rape Carroll under the letter of the law, Kaplan said the claim was “substantially true under common modern parlance.”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.