Donald Trump faced the possibility of being removed from his Manhattan civil trial on Wednesday. The situation arose after he consistently disregarded instructions to remain silent during the testimony of writer E. Jean Carroll. Carroll was testifying that her reputation was severely damaged following her accusations of sexual abuse against him.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan warned the former president that his presence at the trial would be revoked if he continued to cause disruptions. Following an initial warning, Carroll’s attorney reported that Trump continued to make comments to his lawyers, such as “it is a witch hunt” and “it really is a con job.”
According to the Associated Press:
“Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial,” Kaplan said in an exchange after the jury was excused for lunch, adding: “I understand you’re probably eager for me to do that.”
“I would love it,” Trump shot back, shrugging as he sat between lawyers Alina Habba and Michael Madaio at the defense table.
“I know you would like it. You just can’t control yourself in this circumstance, apparently,” Kaplan responded.
“You can’t either,” Trump muttered.
Kaplan cracked down after Carroll lawyer Shawn Crowley complained for a second time that Trump could be heard “loudly saying things that are false” as he sat at the defense table, frequently tilting back in his chair and leaning over to speak with his lawyer.
During Carroll’s testimony, Trump continuously shook his head in frustration and spoke to his attorney. When Kaplan overruled an objection from Trump’s lawyer, Kaplan instructed the attorney to take a seat. In response, Trump forcefully hit the table and remarked to his lawyer, “nasty guy,” seemingly alluding to the judge according to NBC.
During the morning recess, Crowley informed the judge about Trump’s loud remarks, which included labeling some statements as “false” and mocking Carroll’s recollection. Before the jurors then reconvened, Judge Kaplan said, “I’m just going to ask Mr. Trump to take special care to keep his voice down so the jury does not overhear it.”
However, Trump persisted. Following the lunch break, Crowley reported to the judge that Trump kept up his remarks, potentially audible to the jurors, with comments like “this really is a con job” and “it’s a witch hunt.”
By the end of the lunch interval, Trump had returned to the defense table.
Michael Madaio, one of Trump’s lawyers, expressed his dissatisfaction with the judge for issuing a caution to Trump “without giving us a moment to respond” to the claim made by Carroll’s team about Trump’s disruptive behavior. Madaio accused the judge of showing “general hostility towards the defense” and requested that he recuse himself from the case.
The judge’s response was succinct: “Denied.”
The lawsuit involving Trump and Carroll is a civil case in which Carroll, a former magazine columnist, accused Trump of sexual assault in the mid-1990s. Trump has denied the allegations. The case has involved various legal proceedings, including defamation claims and questions about whether Trump was acting within the scope of his employment as president when he made statements denying the allegations.