April 24, 2024

Former President Donald Trump asked a judge to delay a columnist’s assault and defamation trial set to being later this month after learning that a billionaire who has donated to Democratic causes has paid for some of the accuser’s legal fees.

The information recently came to light when lawyers for E. Jean Carroll informed Trump’s attorneys that “at some point, her counsel secured additional funding from a nonprofit organization to offset certain expenses and legal fees.” Trump’s attorneys said the backer is Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, who has a nonprofit.

Trump’s lawyer asked the judge to reopen discovery, delay the trial one month, or instruct the jury of adverse inference instruction. It’s the second request by a Trump lawyer to delay the trial, which is scheduled to start on April 25.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled Thursday that the defense can look into how Carroll’s legal bills are paid and may depose Carroll again for up to 60 minutes to question her on this matter only. Kaplan set tight deadlines for next week and specifically noted the issue will not delay the April 25 trial start date.

“The eleventh-hour disclosure that Plaintiff’s legal fees are being subsidized by American Future Republic and Reid Hoffman is troubling and raises significant questions that require further investigation,” Trump attorney Alina Habba had written in a letter to Kaplan.

“This revelation raises significant questions as to Plaintiff’s credibility, as well as her motive for commencing and/or continuing the instant action,” Habba wrote. “It also strikes at the heart of one of the key aspects of Plaintiff’s defamation claim – whether the instant action is a ‘hoax’ that was commenced and/or continued to advance a political agenda.”

Carroll’s lawyers opposed any delay. Carroll’s attorney said the financial support from the nonprofit came in 2020 – one year after Carroll filed her state court lawsuit and is “irrelevant” to the issues in the case.

On Wednesday, a different Trump attorney asked the judge to delay the trial until late May given the publicity around Trump’s indictment.

Credit: By  and , CNN

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