The jury in Donald Trump’s upcoming civil rape trial will be anonymous, a judge ruled Thursday, citing concerns about the former president’s potential to endanger them.
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over writer E. Jean Carroll’s rape lawsuit against Trump, cited Trump’s online activity this week, in which he called on his supporters to take to the streets to protest his arrest.
“Sir. Trump’s fairly recent reaction to what he perceived to be an imminent threat of indictment from a grand jury sitting virtually next door to this Court was to encourage ‘protest’ and urge people to ‘take back our country.’ That reaction has reportedly been perceived by some as incitement to violence, and it is worth mentioning that Mr. Trump has repeatedly attacked courts, judges, various law enforcement and other public officials, and even individual juries on other matters,” Kaplan wrote.
“If the identities of the jurors were revealed, there would be a high probability of unwanted media attention towards the jurors, attempts to influence and/or harassment or worse of the jurors by Trump supporters. . In fact, Trump himself has made critical statements on social media about the foreman of the grand jury in Atlanta, Georgia, and the foreman of the jury in the Roger Stone criminal case.”
Kaplan said the jury will be escorted to and from court throughout the trial by US marshals.
The daily news flash
Catch up on the top five stories of the day every weekday afternoon.
Lawyers for the Daily News and The Associated Press opposed the decision, arguing for the public’s presumed right to access civil proceedings. Trump and Carroll’s lawyers acquiesced.
In two trials, Carroll has accused Trump of raping her inside a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s and slandering her in public statements during and after his presidency. Trump denies the meeting.
The one that goes to trial on April 25 concerns Carroll’s second lawsuit against Trump filed in November, which includes rape and defamation allegations. It was the first case filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Law, which gave sexual assault victims their day in court by lifting the one-year statute of limitations to file claims.
Complicated appeals have bogged down Carroll’s first lawsuit in years. In it, she accuses Trump of defaming her in 2019 when he went public with the allegations against her. Then-President Trump called Carroll a notoriously liar and, in denying that he was a rapist, he said she was “not my type.”
The DC Court of Appeals has yet to decide whether Trump made the comments in his capacity as president and was therefore legally protected from lawsuits, an argument that President Biden’s Justice Department has continued to defend. If the court rules in Carroll’s favor, Trump could end up on trial twice.
Kaplan recently said that Carroll’s lawyers may call two women who have accused Trump of sexual assault as witnesses. The judge will also allow them to play the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape for the jury, in which Trump bragged about touching women’s genitals.
Attorneys for Trump and Carroll declined to comment.