Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked a judge to delay the start of a sexual assault and defamation trial for one month to allow a “cooling off” period following the historic indictment charging Trump with falsifying business records.
Joe Tacopina, an attorney for Trump, asked the judge overseeing the battery and defamation lawsuit brought by former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll to delay the trial until the end of May. The trial is scheduled to start on April 25.
Tacopina said the pool of potential jurors will have the criminal charges “top of mind” when they are called due to intense media coverage and that could taint the jury pool. Trump was charged with falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels to stop her from going public about a past affair days before the 2016 presidential election. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“To be sure, President Trump is a persistent subject of media coverage. But the present situation is unique because, as stated above, the recent coverage pertains to alleged sexual misconduct, the same issue at the heart of this litigation,” Tacopina said in his letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan.
Carroll is opposed to the delay request, according to a letter from her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, who called the request “meritless” and said that “there is every reason to believe that the Court can empanel a fair jury in this case” given the size and diverse population of New York City and its nearby counties.
“Waiting an additional four weeks will do nothing to ‘cool’ the unavoidable press and security concerns that will attend this trial—concerns that Your Honor has taken substantial measures to address,” the letter stated. “And in all events, Trump is exceptionally ill-suited to complain about fairness when he has instigated (and sought to benefit from) so much of the very coverage about which he now complains.”
Kaplan’s letter continued, “The fact that Trump is the subject of an unusually large number of criminal investigations cannot possibly mean that Carroll is barred from going forward in her unrelated civil action, which involves wholly different facts and claims.”
Trump has denied the affair with Daniels. He has also denied sexually assaulting Carroll, who alleges Trump raped her in a New York department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. She first sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after he denied the rape, said “she’s not my type” and alleged she made the claim to boost sales of her book.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Laura Ly and Jack Forrest contributed to this report