Trump storms out of court in New York defamation trial

Former US President Donald Trump stormed out of the courtroom during closing arguments in his defamation trial in New York. Trump suddenly jumped up from his chair on Friday and left the room, but not the courthouse, an AFP journalist reported. The plaintiff’s lawyer, E. Jean Carroll, had just said that the former head of state continued to defame her client throughout the trial.

In the civil lawsuit, columnist and author E. Jean Carroll is demanding more than ten million dollars (9.1 million euros) in damages from Trump for defamatory statements. The civil trial is now coming to an end: After the shooting pleas, the jury begins deliberating whether damages should be paid and how much.

By late morning, Trump had posted more than a dozen messages on his online network Truth Social in which he again accused Carroll of making false claims in order to “extort” money. On the eve of the hearing, Trump published a volley of 37 verbal attacks against Carroll on Truth Social.

The court hearing took place three days after Trump’s victory in the Republican presidential primary in the US state of New Hampshire. This brings the 77-year-old even closer to running for president. The ex-president is making his problems with the judiciary a campaign issue with four indictments and portrays himself as the victim of a “witch hunt” by President Joe Biden’s Democrats, who, in his view, want to prevent his return to the White House.

Carroll accuses Trump of raping her in a dressing room at the New York luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman in 1996. The long-time columnist for “Elle” magazine first made her accusation public in 2019, when Trump was president. The Republican then accused Carroll of lying and said she wasn’t his “type.”

In a first trial last year, Trump was sentenced to five million dollars in damages and compensation for sexual abuse and defamation of the journalist. Two weeks after the verdict, Carroll called for even harsher punishment for Trump in an updated lawsuit after he again denied Carroll’s rape allegations and insulted her as a “crazy” during a live CNN town hall discussion in front of an audience of millions.

Trump sexually abused her, lied “and he destroyed my reputation,” said the columnist and author in her testimony last week. Asked how Trump had damaged her reputation, Carroll said: “I used to be known simply as a journalist, and now I’m known as a liar, a cheater and a lunatic.”