Federal Judge Rejects Trump’s Last-Ditch Attempt To Upend His Rape Trial


Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan has denied a request from Donald Trump’s legal team in an unfolding civil case on claims of rape from writer E. Jean Carroll to reconsider and potentially block testimony from a woman named Natasha Stoynoff at trial.

Stoynoff is another woman who has shared claims of sexual misconduct perpetrated by Trump, although in the newly denied request, Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina questioned whether the nature of the alleged incident was of sufficient similarity to the alleged assault Trump committed against Carroll to provide for Stoynoff’s testimony under federal rules of procedure. Kaplan had already concluded there were enough relevant factors to provide the foundation for Stoynoff to appear. Tacopina fashioned his arguments to the judge as a request for so-called clarification, but the judge understood the lawyer’s ploy to be more rightly understood as a push for formal reconsideration of the decision for Stoynoff’s testimony — reconsideration for which the deadline has, in general, long passed.

“Although defendant characterizes his application as one for clarification, the characterization is mistaken,” the judge said. “The application in fact is a request that the Court reconsider a previous ruling and, on reconsideration, to reach the opposition result. The application is untimely because any motion for reconsideration should have been filed well before this request. Even if the application were timely, the defendant has failed to show, as would be necessary to warrant reconsideration, that the Court’s original decision overlooked matters or controlling decisions.” Kaplan added that Trump’s team’s ploy also didn’t present anything that would meet the necessary standards for actually warranting action even if they’d met the logistical requirements.

Tacopina had zeroed in on a claimed dispute over whether Trump’s alleged actions towards Stoynoff meaningfully involved more than contact with the writer’s upper body and forced kissing, which would be relevant in showing the incident was within the realm of additionally alleged assault allowing for the testimony at trial. That’s not the only issue, though. As Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan noted in her opposition to Tacopina’s ploy for clarification, which he imagined would involve additional questioning for Stoynoff, other relevant factors included allegations Trump seemingly planned out the encounter and that he only stopped when someone else entered the room at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Going forward, the jury ruling against Trump would mean he would become subject to potential penalties like financial consequences, as this trial will be civil rather than criminal in nature.