ALERT: Trump Scores Major Legal Victory

( – HAPPENING NOW: As any defendant will acknowledge, any time a court postpones a trial while waiting to see if that trial becomes unnecessary because of a higher court’s ruling, it is a major victory.

Today, former President Donald J. Trump scored a major victory.

Specifically, a New York federal judge, Lewis Kaplan, postponed indefinitely the April trial for the first of two defamation lawsuits against former President Donald Trump filed by writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of rape in the mid-1990s. At the same time, Kaplan rejected a joint request by lawyers for Trump and Carroll to merge the two pending civil lawsuits into a single trial.

Judge Kaplan argued that the attorneys overestimated the benefits of judicial economy and the avoidance of potentially inconsistent rulings by combining the cases. He also noted that the trial, initially scheduled for April 10, could be deemed unnecessary if the federal appeals court reviewing the case rules that the suit is barred by law.

Carroll’s first lawsuit claims that Trump defamed her with false and disparaging remarks following her public allegations of rape in a New York magazine article. Trump denied the allegations, calling them “a totally false accusation” and suggesting that Carroll fabricated the story for political reasons and to boost book sales.

Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, and Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan (no relation to the judge), declined to comment on the order.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is currently considering whether Trump’s 2019 comments about Carroll were made within the scope of his presidential duties. If the court finds that they were, as the Justice Department argues, Trump would be exempt from the defamation claim.

Carroll’s second lawsuit, filed late last year, also alleges defamation and claims battery against Trump for the alleged rape. The second case also accuses Trump of further damaging Carroll’s reputation with false claims in 2022. This suit takes advantage of a temporary suspension of the statute of limitations in New York state, allowing accusers in sexual assault cases to file lawsuits against alleged attackers even if the incidents occurred years ago.

In an October 12 social media post, Trump called the case “a complete con job” and said, “This woman is not my type.” During a deposition, Trump mistook a photo of Carroll for his ex-wife, Marla Maples.