Former President Donald Trump stormed out of a New York courtroom Friday morning after the judge overseeing a defamation case against him asked for silence while attorneys for the plaintiff read off a list of grievances.
Fox News shared a summary of the chaos happening inside Manhattan civil federal court where E. Jean Carroll is seeking upwards of $12 million in damages related to alleged actions and statements made by Trump which a jury earlier found to qualify as defamation. During closing arguments, Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered both sides to drop objections and remain totally silent.
“There are to be no interruptions by anybody, no audible comments by anybody else,” Kaplan said according to CNN. “And when I charge the jury later — that rule applies to everyone in the courtroom, including counsel.”
Alina Habba, lead attorney for Trump, attempted to record an objection at which point Kaplan replied, “You are on the verge of spending some time in the lock-up, now sit down.”
As soon as Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan began his opening statement, President Trump stood up and walked out.
“The record will reflect that Mr. Trump just rose and walked out of the courtroom,” said Judge Kaplan.
Judge Kaplan, who is unrelated to Carroll’s attorney, took a moment to admonish the defense and remind them to remain seated. Boris Epshteyn, an aide to the president who walked out with him, returned without his boss.
In June of last year, President Trump launched a countersuit against Carroll, an advice columnist who alleged she was sexually assaulted by Trump decades ago. Civil juries have found Trump liable for the assault as well as defamation, results that Trump claims stem from a concerted effort by Carroll to damage his reputation while he runs for president.
Carroll has made “false statements with actual malice and ill will with an intent to significantly and spitefully harm and attack,” Trump’s attorneys wrote at the time, adding that Carroll’s case is another example of how Trump “has been the subject of significant harm to his reputation, which, in turn, has yielded an inordinate amount of damages sustained as a result.”