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Trump to hold rally on day he claims judge is making him miss mother-in-law’s funeral

E Jean Carroll defamation trial is slated to begin on Tuesday – hours after the Iowa caucuses

Rachel Sharp
Monday 15 January 2024 10:47 GMT
Trump urges voters to get to polls even if they are 'as sick as a dog’

Donald Trump is planning to hold a campaign rally on the same day that he claimed a New York judge is forcing him to miss his mother-in-law’s funeral.

Last week, the former president asked US District Judge Lewis Kaplan to delay his defamation trial with magazine columnist E Jean Carroll, due to begin on Tuesday.

Mr Trump’s attorneys claimed that the trial clashes with the funeral of Melania Trump’s mother Amalija Knavs and that he needs to be “with family” at that time.

“Accordingly, President Trump, who plans to attend his trial, will not be able to be present on Wednesday and Thursday as he will be traveling to be with his family and be attending the funeral,” his attorney Alina Habba wrote.

“Given that this is one of life’s sad unexpected realities, President Trump would greatly appreciate this minor accommodation during this difficult time.”

The judge turned down the request, saying that the trial date had been set seven months ago – and delaying it could cause issues for prospective jurors, counsel, court staff, as well as problems around logistics and security arrangements.

“Accordingly, the Court denied the request but noted that defendant is free to attend the funeral, the trial or both,” the judge wrote.

Mr Trump – who is not required to attend the trial and who declined to appear for any of his first defamation trial with Ms Carroll last year – lashed out at the judge over his decision, both on Truth Social and during an Iowa caucus event.

“Lewis Kaplan, the terrible, biased, irrationally angry Clinton-appointed Judge in the Bergdorf’s Hoax, refused to postpone the sham trial next week, even in light of the funeral of my beloved Mother-in-law,” he wrote on Truth Social.

Donald Trump in Iowa on Sunday ahead of caucuses

“This Judge has been ruthlessly unfair from the first day of Crooked Joe Biden’s Election Interfering Witch Hunt.”

But now it has emerged that Mr Trump is actually planning to hold a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Wednesday.

In a letter sent to the judge on Saturday, Ms Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan claimed that the former president had misrepresented his reason for seeking to postpone the trial.

“Counsel for Defendant Donald Trump, in seeking a one-week adjournment of trial in this case, represented to the Court yesterday that Mr. Trump would be unable to attend trial on Wednesday, January 17, because he would ‘be traveling to be with his family’ to Florida,” the attorney wrote.

“There was no mention made of any scheduling conflict in connection with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. It has come to our attention, however, that a campaign event featuring Mr. Trump has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 17, in New Hampshire.

“We bring this to the Court’s attention because the same counsel who made representations about Mr. Trump’s availability on Wednesday are making filings today and tomorrow addressing their willingness to comply with the Court’s evidentiary rulings and other orders.”

The letter also argued that Mr Trump “falsely wrote” on Truth Social that “he had moved to adjourn the upcoming trial only for ‘one day’ and that the trial ‘could have taken place at any time, including months ago.’”

Last week, Mr Trump announced his intentions to attend the civil trial with Ms Carroll, where a jury will determine how much he owes in damages.

Ms Carroll is seeking $10m after the judge found that he defamed her in 2019 when she came forward with accusations of rape.

Last year, Ms Carroll was awarded $5m in damages in a separate case against Mr Trump, after a jury determined that the former president was liable for sexual abuse and defamation.

The trial comes one day after the Iowa caucuses where Mr Trump is expected to take a major lead over his Republican rivals.

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