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E. Jean Carroll defamation case live updates: Judge instructs Trump to keep his voice down

Former President Donald Trump is on trial this week in New York City to determine whether he will have to pay former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll additional damages for defaming her in 2019 when he denied her allegations of sexual abuse.

Last year, in a separate trial, a jury determined that Trump was liable for sexually abusing Carroll in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, and that he defamed her in a 2022 social media post by calling her allegations "a Hoax and a lie" and saying "This woman is not my type!"

MORE: Who is Lewis Kaplan, the no-nonsense judge overseeing Trump's federal defamation trial?

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and has said he doesn't know who Carroll is.

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Latest Developments


Jan 17, 12:38 PM

Carroll says she's always on 'hyper alert' due to threats

Ever since then-President Trump defamed her in June of 2019, E. Jean Carroll told the jury, she has been inundated with threats of physical and sexual violence.

In one message, Carroll said of the sender: "He wants me to stick a gun in my mouth in pull the trigger."

Another message said, "I hope someone really does attack, rape and murder you."

When another message was displayed for the jury, Carroll said, "I'm sorry people in the courtroom have to see this." Her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, replied, "I'm sorry to have to ask you about it, Ms. Carroll."

The message said, "i will rape u e jean carroll."

Carroll described her visceral reaction to these messages. "The body believes it's going to happen," she said. "It feels like it's going to happen."

Carroll said she now lives her life on "hyper alert" for potential threats in and around her home in upstate New York.

"I have a pit bull rescue. He's a great dog, but I never, never had him off the leash. When the first threats came in, I let him off the leash and he now patrols," Carroll said. "I alerted the neighbors to be on the watch and I bought bullets for the gun I had inherited from my father."

"Where do you keep that gun?" Kaplan asked. "By my bed," Carroll responded.


Jan 17, 12:27 PM

Judge instructs Trump to keep his voice down


Former President Trump has been making side commentary during E. Jean Carroll's testimony within earshot of the jury, Carroll's lawyer complained during a break in the proceedings, outside the jury's presence.

"Mr. Trump is sitting at the back table and has been loudly saying things" like "'Carroll's statements are false' and 'she now seems to have gotten her memory back,'" the attorney, Shawn Crowley, told Judge Kaplan.

Sitting at the defense table, Trump has been seen scoffing, chuckling, and encouraging his attorney, Alina Habba, to interject during the proceedings. He has been visibly shaking his head at some of what Carroll asserts on the witness stand.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump and E. Jean Carroll attend jury selection in the second civil trial after Carroll accused Trump of raping her decades ago, at Manhattan Federal Court in New York, Jan. 16, 2024, in this courtroom sketch.   (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)
PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump and E. Jean Carroll attend jury selection in the second civil trial after Carroll accused Trump of raping her decades ago, at Manhattan Federal Court in New York, Jan. 16, 2024, in this courtroom sketch. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

When, earlier, Judge Kaplan denied the defense's request for an adjournment and instructed Habba to "sit down," Trump was heard saying, "He is a very nasty guy."

During Carroll's testimony in which she said she interpreted Trump's remark that "she's not my type" to mean "I'm too ugly to assault," Trump was heard laughing after the judge overruled a defense objection.

Before the jury returned to the courtroom, Judge Kaplan addressed Trump's side comments and instructed him to "take special care" to keep his voice down when conferring with counsel, "so that the jury does not overhear it."


Jan 17, 11:38 AM

Trump 'ended the world that I had been living in,' Carroll says


Recounting her response when Trump denied her rape claim in 2019, Carroll said that when Trump said "she's not my type," she interpreted it to mean "I'm too ugly to assault."

"What did it feel like to have the President of the United States say those things about you?" her attorney Roberta Kaplan asked.

"To have the President of the United States, one of the most powerful persons on Earth, calling me a liar for three days and saying I'm a liar 26 times -- I counted them -- it ended the world that I had been living in. And I entered a new world," Carroll responded as Trump sat at the defense table. "I was attacked. I was attacked on Twitter, I was attacked on Facebook, I was attacked in news blogs, I was attacked, brutally attacked, in messages."

The jury saw some of those messages, which mimicked Trump's statements, calling her "lying old hag" or saying "shame on you and your lying I-hate-Trump story."

Carroll testified that the messages started instantly and have not stopped. She said she sometimes receives "scores and scores, sometimes hundreds a day."


Jan 17, 12:40 PM

Carroll says she's paid 'as dearly as is possible to pay'


"I've paid just about as dearly as is possible to pay," E. Jean Carroll testified about her life after then-President Trump fiercely denied her rape claim in a series of defamatory statements in 2019.

When New York magazine, on June 21, 2019, published an excerpt of Carroll's book that included her allegation that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room, she testified that she expected him to respond.

"I expected him to deny it but to say it was consensual, which it was not, but that's what I expected him to say," Carroll testified.

"Is that what he did?" her attorney Roberta Kaplan asked. "No," Carroll answered.

According to a reporter's Tweet from 5:17 p.m. on June 21, 2019, which was shown in court, Trump responded to the allegation by saying, "I've never met this person in my life."

"That is a lie," Carroll said. "He said I made up an accusation to sell a book. That is a lie. He said I made up the accusation for publicity's sake. That is a lie. He said my accusation damaged the real victims of sexual assault. That is a lie."

Carroll read additional statements by Trump reacting to her allegation.

"He said people like me, who make false accusations, are very dangerous, in very dangerous territory, that I shouldn't have done it for the sake of publicity. That is also a lie," Carroll said.


Jan 17, 10:36 AM

Carroll takes the stand as Trump looks on


Eight months after a jury determined that former President Trump was liable for sexually assaulting and defaming E. Jean Carroll, the former magazine columnist is back on the witness stand this morning -- this time with Trump in attendance.

"I'm here because Donald Trump assaulted me and, when I wrote about it, he lied and he shattered my reputation," Carroll told the jury after taking the stand. "Yesterday I opened up Twitter and it said 'Hey lady, you're a fraud.'"

The courtroom seating arrangement, with Carroll on the witness stand and Trump looking on from the defense table, brings the two of them face-to-face after they appeared to avoid eye contact during the trial's first day Tuesday.


Jan 17, 10:43 AM

'I said sit down,' judge admonishes Trump attorney


The start of former President Trump's defamation trial this morning was delayed briefly by a juror transportation issue.

As proceedings got underway, outside the jury's presence, a tense exchange unfolded between the judge and defense attorney Alina Habba, who again repeated a request to adjourn the trial on Thursday so Trump can attend the funeral of former first lady Melania Trump's mother, Amalija Knavs.

"I am asking your honor to have the kindness that my client deserves," Habba said to Judge Lewis Kaplan, who has already twice denied the defense's request to postpone the trial due to Thursday's funeral.

Kaplan, interrupting Habba, said, "Indeed Ms. Habba, the right that he has according to the Supreme Court of the United States is to be present either in person or through counsel."

Habba persisted, with Trump looking on, prompting the judge to instruct her to "sit down" and make no further argument.

"I said sit down," Kaplan said.

"I don't like to be spoken to that way," Habba responded. "I am asking your honor to please refrain from speaking to me that way. I am asking for an adjournment."

"It's denied. Sit down," Kaplan said.


Jan 17, 9:53 AM

Trump arrives at courthouse

Former President Trump has arrived at Manhattan federal court for Day 2 of his defamation damages trial.

PHOTO: Former US President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower for Manhattan federal court for the second defamation trial against him, in New York City on Jan. 17, 2024.  (Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Former US President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower for Manhattan federal court for the second defamation trial against him, in New York City on Jan. 17, 2024. (Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)

His motorcade pulled up to the courthouse at around 9:15 a.m. ET.


Jan 17, 7:42 AM

Carroll set to testify as 1st witness


Donald Trump is expected to be in the courtroom this morning when E. Jean Carroll takes the stand to testify about how the then-president's defamatory denial of her sexual assault allegations in 2019 upended her life.

Trump "unleashed his followers to go after her online" after Carroll went public with her allegations, damaging her reputation as a writer and making her feel unsafe in her own home, Carroll's attorney Shawn Crowley told the jury in her opening statement yesterday.

"Ms. Carroll bought bullets for the gun that she inherited from her father, and she now sleeps with it right beside her bed. She checks her surroundings every time she leaves her house or gets out of her car," Crowley said. "She's afraid -- afraid that someday, somebody is going to make good on their threats and come after her in person."

Despite sitting feet from each other in the courtroom yesterday, Carroll and Trump avoided eye contact and never interacted during the first day of the trial. However, when Carroll takes the stand to testify this morning, she will speak directly in front of the counsel table where Trump is seated.


Jan 16, 8:33 PM

Trump expected to attend trial Wednesday, sources say


Former President Trump, who was campaigning in New Hampshire Tuesday evening, is expected to return to New York to attend the second day of his defamation trial on Wednesday, sources tell ABC News.

Trump is then scheduled to return to New Hampshire later Wednesday.

-ABC News' Rachel Scott, Lalee Ibssa and Soo Rin Kim


Jan 16, 6:02 PM

Trial is 'straight out of banana republic,' says Trump attorney

Donald Trump's legal counsel Boris Epshteyn briefly spoke to reporters outside court at the conclusion of Tuesday's proceedings, calling the trial "straight out of [a] banana republic."

"Manhattan is 90-95% Democrat," Epshteyn said, despite voter registration records showing the borough is about 70% Democratic. "Does anybody think the President will get a fair trial here? Absolutely not," he said.

Despite a jury last year finding Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll, Epshteyn alleged that Carroll is making "false accusations."

"President Trump has consistently stated that he did not commit the allegation and did not commit the acts that the plaintiff alleges. He has been steadfast in that. And it is right to defend himself from false accusations," Epshteyn said.

Epshteyn declined to comment on whether Trump plans to attend court tomorrow.

Carroll did not speak to reporters when she left court.

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