'Stop wasting time': Manhattan judge rebukes Trump lawyers in defamation case
Former President Donald Trump’s legal headaches include not only all the investigations he is facing —from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis to New York Attorney General Letitia James — but also, the various civil lawsuits he is up against. One of them has come from journalist E. Jean Carroll, who filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump. When Trump’s lawyers tried to stop a deposition in that case, they received a stern rebuke from U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in a Manhattan courtroom: “Stop wasting time. It goes forward.”
The witness in the case who is scheduled to give a deposition is Stephanie Grisham, former White House Press secretary in the Trump Administration and author of the 2021 book, “I'll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House.” Grisham was the third of Trump’s four White House press secretaries, coming after Sarah Huckabee Sanders and before Kayleigh McEnany (now a pundit for Fox News).
Grisham, according to Bloomberg News, takes prescription painkillers, which Trump lawyer Michael Madaio pointed out when he was trying to stop her deposition. But Kaplan didn’t see that as any reason why the deposition shouldn’t go forward.
Madaio argued that being on prescription painkillers would affect the quality of Grisham’s deposition, telling Kaplan, “The issue is: The witness advised early in the deposition that she is currently on painkillers, and we were aware that in a related case, she recently filed a notice of unavailability for deposition based on the fact that she was on the same painkillers — and that she would not be able to competently testify based on the fact that she was on painkillers. She remains on the painkillers today.”
But Kaplan wasn’t swayed. When the judge asked Grisham if she could understand the questions being asked during the deposition, she responded “yes.”
Carroll alleges that Trump sexually assaulted her in a New York City department store during the mid-1990s — an allegation that Trump has vehemently denied. Although Trump hasn’t faced any criminal charges because of that incident, Carroll filed a civil defamation lawsuit against him.
In Carroll’s defamation complaint, she argues, “When Carroll’s account was published, Trump lashed out with a series of false and defamatory statements. He denied the rape. But there was more: he also denied ever having met Carroll or even knowing who she was. Through express statements and deliberate implications, he accused Carroll of lying about the rape in order to increase book sales, carry out a political agenda, advance a conspiracy with the Democratic Party, and make money. He also deliberately implied that she had falsely accused other men of rape. For good measure, he insulted her physical appearance.”
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