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Trump again demands mistrial in defamation case

Donald Trump has renewed his request for a mistrial in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case after she admitted to destroying emailed death threats she received after first accusing the former US president of rape.

In a letter to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, Mr Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said Ms Carroll’s actions “severely prejudices the president Trump’s defence since he has been deprived of critical information relating to critical evidence which Plaintiff has described to the jury”.

Judge Kaplan had rejected the same request on Wednesday, when Carroll was testifying.

A spokesman for Ms Carroll declined to comment.

Ms Carroll, 80, a former Elle magazine advice columnist, has accused Mr Trump, 77, of raping her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan.

She is seeking at least $10 million (€10.8 million) for damage to her reputation over two statements that Mr Trump made in June 2019, in which he denied that anything happened and said Ms Carroll made up the incident to boost sales of her memoir.

Under cross-examination by Ms Habba on Wednesday, Ms Carroll acknowledged she had thought deleting death threats was “was the smartest, best, quickest way to get it out of my life”.

E. Jean Carroll leaving a previous court hearing (file photo)

She said it was “probably 2023” when the deletions stopped.

Ms Habba said the deletions violated a federal rule requiring that emails be preserved if needed during litigation.

She said that absent a mistrial, Judge Kaplan should prevent Ms Carroll from seeking damages related to death threats, or instruct jurors to hold the email destruction against her.

In seeking a mistrial on Wednesday, Ms Habba had told the judge: “Your honour, at this moment, I feel I have to ask for a mistrial.

“The witness has just admitted to deleting evidence herself, which are part of her claim of damages, and I haven’t seen them. She has no evidence of them. She hasn’t turned them over.”

Judge Kaplan responded: “Denied. The jury will disregard everything Ms Habba just said.”

A different jury last May ordered Mr Trump to pay Ms Carroll $5 million for defamation and sexual abuse after he similarly denied her accusations in October 2022.

Judge Kaplan has said those findings apply to the current trial, leaving only the issue of damages for the nine-person jury.

The trial began on 16 January. It resumes on Monday, and Mr Trump may testify.

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