Jurors in E. Jean Carroll’s Defamation Case Against Trump to Be Kept Anonymous – US 247 News


A federal judge in Manhattan ruled Friday that the jury in a forthcoming defamation trial against Donald J. Trump will be kept anonymous for the jurors’ own protection, citing the potential for harassment by the former president’s supporters.

In ordering the anonymous jury, the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court, noted Mr. Trump had twice been fined for violating a gag order issued by the New York judge overseeing a civil fraud trial in state court in response to comments Mr. Trump had made concerning the judge’s clerk.

Judge Kaplan’s ruling Friday came on the same day that the state judge, Arthur F. Engoron, said that he had received hundreds of “harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters and packages” after Mr. Trump and his lawyers had criticized him.

The order for an anonymous jury comes in a civil trial scheduled to begin Jan. 16 that stems from a lawsuit by the writer E. Jean Carroll. She claimed Mr. Trump defamed her in 2019 after she first publicly accused him of raping her in the mid-1990s in a department store dressing room. After Ms. Carroll made the allegation in a book excerpt in New York magazine, Mr. Trump said he had never met her and called her accusation “totally false.”

Ms. Carroll has already won a separate defamation lawsuit against Mr. Trump: In May, a jury found he defamed her last year when he posted a statement on his Truth Social platform calling her rape allegation “a complete job” and “a Hoax” and a lie.”

The jury awarded Ms. Carroll $2.98 million in defamation damages. Separately, the jury did not find Mr. Trump had raped Ms. Carroll, but held Mr. Trump liable for sexually abusing her in her department store dressing room, awarding her $2.02 million in damages. Mr. Trump has appealed the jury’s verdict.

On Friday, Judge Kaplan wrote that he would require an anonymous jury in Ms. Carroll’s second trial for the same reasons he gave for a similar order in her first trial. In that order, I have cited Mr. Trump’s repeated attacks on judges, courts, law enforcement officials and even jurors in other matters. Mr. Trump, the judge noted at the time, had made sharply critical statements about the forewoman of a special grand jury in Atlanta; Mr. Trump has since been indicted there.

Adopting language from the earlier ruling, Judge Kaplan wrote Friday that if jurors’ identities in Ms. Carroll’s next trial were disclosed, “there would be a strong likelihood of unwanted media attention to the jurors, influence attempts, and/or harassment or worse by supporters of Mr. Trump” — or by Mr. Trump himself, the judge added.

Judge Kaplan also cited Mr. Trump’s repeated statements about Ms. Carroll and the court in her case and other cases against him. In addition to the civil fraud trial in New York, Mr. Trump faces four criminal indictments, in Georgia and New York State courts and federal courts in Washington, DC, and Florida. Mr. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Roberta A. Kaplan, a lawyer for Ms. Carroll, declined to comment Friday on the judge’s order. An advocate for Mr. Trump’s lawyer had no immediate comment.

Judge Kaplan has already ruled that Ms. Carroll will not have to prove a second time that Mr. Trump defamed her, and only must show what damages, if any, he must pay for his 2019 comments.