Trump's 'Past Words, Actions' Cited In Judge's Ruling For Anonymous Jurors In Sex Assault Trial

Jurors set to hear arguments in former President Donald Trump’s upcoming civil sexual assault trial brought by New York columnist E. Jean Carroll will remain anonymous, a federal judge ruled.

Former President Donald Trump and columnist E. Jean Carroll.
Former President Donald Trump and columnist E. Jean Carroll. Photo Credit: ICIR/Gage Skidmore via WIkimedia Commons/julieannesmo

In his ruling issued Thursday, March 23, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan cited Trump’s “past words and actions,” in part for his decision, saying the former president has “repeatedly attacked courts, judges, various law enforcement officials and other public officials, and even individual jurors in other matters.”

“Indeed, Mr. Trump himself has made critical statements on social media regarding the grand jury foreperson in Atlanta, Georgia, and the jury foreperson in the Roger Stone criminal case,” Kaplan said.

He also cited Trump’s recent calls for his supporters to “protest” and “take back our country” should he be indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for allegedly paying hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

“That reaction reportedly has been perceived by some as incitement to violence,” he said.

Kaplan went on to say that the court is obligated to consider the likely effect that the case and its inevitable extensive media coverage will have on jurors.

“(The court) cannot properly ignore the significant risk that jurors selected to serve in this case will be affected by concern that they could be targeted for unwanted media attention, outside pressure, and retaliation and harassment from persons unhappy with any verdict that might be returned,” he said.

Thursday’s ruling was in response to a request made by the Daily News and the Associated Press, who had objected to the idea of anonymous juries, arguing that the identities of jurors is “within the presumption of public access to court proceedings.” Neither Trump nor Carroll objected to having anonymous jurors.

Carroll, now age 79 and living in the Hudson Valley, in Orange County, made headlines in June 2019 when she claimed in a cover story for New York Magazine that Trump raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s.

Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying he never met Carroll and that she is “totally lying” to sell her memoir and is “not my type.”

Those comments, made in 2019 while Trump was president, prompted Carroll to sue him for defamation, claiming they caused her “emotional pain and suffering”, and “damaged her reputation, honor, and dignity.”

In September 2022, Carroll revealed that she also plans to file a sexual battery lawsuit against Trump under the state’s new Adult Survivors Act, which provides a one-year window for adult victims of sexual abuse to file a claim, even if it occurred decades ago.

The defamation trial is set to begin on April 25. 

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