Trump Lawyers Get Roasted By Judge In Sex Assault Defamation Case

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A Manhattan federal judge had to tell Donald Trump’s legal representation to “stop wasting time” amid court proceedings this week connected to a defamation lawsuit from writer E. Jean Carroll over Trump’s responses as president to her revealing an incident of sexual assault she says he perpetrated against her in the 1990s.

Trump maligned Carroll’s appearance and suggested public comments she made about the incident were connected to promotion for a book. Carroll has since indicated she intends to sue Trump later this year directly over the incident after New York state authorities implemented a measure that will reopen opportunities for legal action over past cases of sexual assault where statutes of limitations would have otherwise restricted what options were available to victims. Amid the defamation case, Carroll’s side is pursuing a Trump deposition scheduled for this month, although Trump is challenging whether proceedings can continue, and a hearing was scheduled for Friday. As for the run-in with the judge, Trump attorney Michael Madaio tried to put a deposition of former Trump administration official Stephanie Grisham on hold after she confirmed she took a painkiller medication in apparent connection to an injury.

The idea was apparently that she could have been unable to most effectively sit for the deposition, although it was also noted she took under a fourth of her previous doses. Madaio cited Grisham herself for concerns about the impact of her painkillers on her competency, telling the judge the former official “had cited her medication as a reason to avoid a deposition in an unrelated lawsuit on Sept. 23,” Bloomberg summarizes. Alina Habba, another lawyer for Trump, also touted the Trump team’s overall cooperation to federal Judge Lewis Kaplan. “We have proceeded with other depositions in the case this week,” Habba told the judge, discussing the medication. “The only reason for our concern with this deposition is what the transcript indicates.” Grisham herself apparently said under questioning she could competently participate, and Kaplan wasn’t impressed with the Trump lawyers’ comments. “Stop wasting time,” he said. “It goes forward.”

Grisham herself was questioned by the judge on the same teleconference. “Do you understand the questions?” he asked her. “And are you capable of testifying?” She replied in the affirmative. Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll in these proceedings, also tore into the Trump lawyers’ arguments. “Your honor, there’s been extensive testimony about this already, and it’s really somewhat of a waste of time,” she told the judge. “The injury has healed, which is exactly why, your honor, we are here in Kansas.” It doesn’t seem Grisham is the one — or among those — who tried to stop the deposition, which took place Thursday. There are further depositions scheduled for coming weeks, including one of an ex-editor at Elle, where Carroll worked at the time she says the incident took place.