An attorney for Donald Trump has claimed that her experts were denied the chance to testify before a New York jury that ultimately ruled in favor of a writer who accused the former president of defamation.
Attorney Alina Habba told reporters on Jan. 26 that presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan allegedly made sure that “every single defense that President Trump had” was not raised in the case. She said her team’s “experts were denied” and couldn’t take the stand.
Her comments came just hours after a jury ruled that President Trump should pay $83.8 million to writer E. Jean Carroll, finding that he defamed her in 2019 when he denied accusations that he assaulted her decades earlier. It was the second time Ms. Carroll was awarded damages from the former president after making those accusations, which he denies to this day.
Ms. Habba accused Ms. Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, of bringing in a witness who was “paid for by” her firm.
“That is a violation of everything I stand for, and that is why I stand with Trump, and that is why so many Americans are so proud that he is running again and so excited to run to the ballot box but don’t get it twisted, we are seeing a violation of our justice system,” she said.
During the trial, the judge threatened to jail Ms. Habba and kick President Trump out of the courtroom for what he described as “disruptive behavior.” The former president has asserted that Judge Kaplan, a Clinton appointee, is a partisan actor and biased against him.
Before the case was heard by a jury, Judge Kaplan had already ruled that he believed President Trump defamed Ms. Carroll. The jury was considering the damages that should be paid.
After the jury rendered the decision, Ms. Habba said she was “so proud to stand with President Trump.”
“But I am not proud to stand with what I saw in that courtroom,” she told reporters.
“I have sat on trial after trial for months in this state, the state of New York, Attorney General Letitia James and now this. Weeks, weeks. Why? Because President Trump is leading in the polls, and now we see what you get in New York.”
The jury of seven men and two women, whose members were kept anonymous, awarded Ms. Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages, including $11 million for harm to her reputation. She also was awarded $65 million in punitive damages, which she said was needed to stop President Trump from continuing to defame her.
But President Trump has long said that he had never heard of Ms. Carroll and that she made up her story to boost sales of her memoir. His lawyers argued in the trial that she was hungry for fame and enjoyed the attention of supporters for speaking out against her nemesis, which she has denied.
Ms. Carroll’s lawyer said during her closing argument that President Trump acted toward her client as though he were not bound by the law and that he should pay “dearly.”
On Jan. 25, the former president testified but spent only four minutes on the witness stand because the judge forbade him from revisiting issues that the first trial had settled. He stood behind his October 2022 deposition testimony, which jurors had seen, in which he called Ms. Carroll’s claims a “hoax” and said she was “mentally sick.”
Ms. Habba predicted that the Trump appeal would succeed.
“President Trump is leading in the polls, and now we see what you get in New York,” she told reporters. “It will not deter us; we will keep fighting, and I assure you we didn’t win today, but we will win.”
On social media, the former president said that he “will be appealing this whole Biden-directed witch hunt focused on me and the Republican Party,” referring to the Jan. 26 decision.
“Our legal system is out of control and being used as a political weapon,” he said.
The New York Times reported that the former president does not have to pay Ms. Carroll the $83 million penalty until he is finished with all of his appeal options available. It also noted that he could attempt to obtain a bond, which would save him from having to pay the full amount to the writer.
Reuters contributed to this report.