NEW YORK: Donald Trump briefly testified Thursday (Jan 25) in a defamation court case, his first appearance since winning New Hampshire’s primary and drawing closer to an election rematch with President Joe Biden.
Far from hiding his multiple legal problems, Trump has turned courtroom sessions into quasi-campaign events, claiming that each trial is part of a Democratic establishment attempt to prevent his return to the White House for a second term.
Writer E Jean Carroll is seeking more than US$10 million in damages for defamation by Trump in a federal court in New York, which has the power only to impose a civil penalty, not a criminal conviction.
The 77-year-old Trump – whom a jury found liable for the sexual assault of Carroll in a separate federal civil case in New York – took the stand to deny he instructed anyone to harm Carroll with his statements.
Judge Lewis Kaplan limited Trump to three questions from his lawyers, to which he could only answer yes or no to prevent him from digressing from the case.
“She says something I considered false,” Trump began to say before Kaplan cut him off.
“This is not America,” Trump said as he left the courtroom following his short appearance.
Trump separately faces several criminal cases, including his alleged attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Biden and a civil fraud case.
Overnight the former Republican president unleashed a battery of attacks on Carroll, using his Truth Social platform to smear her and deny the veracity of her evidence throughout 37 messages.
Carroll, 80, alleges that Trump defamed her in 2019, when she first made her assault allegations public, by saying she “is not my type.”