Former President Trump said he will miss the E. Jean Carroll trial on Thursday so that he can attend his mother-in-law’s funeral, blasting the judge presiding over the case as “nasty” for not delaying court proceedings for the day.
“As you know, the first lady’s mother passed away. The funeral is tomorrow,” Trump said Wednesday during a press conference in New York City after spending the day in court. “And we would have assumed that for a trial like this, it’s not an emergency in terms of timing, the judge would have been very nice, and they would let me go because I want to be at every trial day because I saw what happened in the first one where I was asked not to go by the lawyers very much — they said it’s demeaning, there was no evidence, there was no anything — and so I didn’t go, and I understood exactly what he meant when he said it was demeaning. There was no reason to go and you shouldn’t go.”
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Trump said this time, because “the judge is a radical Trump hater,” he would “go to all days.”
“So, it happened very terribly as we asked to just delay the trial for one day so I could go to the funeral tomorrow and then we could start Friday or Monday or any time they want,” Trump explained. “And he said, absolutely not, the trial will go on just as it is.”
Trump said the judge said, “You can go to the funeral or you can go to the trial, but you can’t do both.”
“I thought it was terrible. I thought it was terrible,” Trump continued. “So he would rather have me miss the funeral or go to the funeral and miss the trial.”
He added: “That’s a nasty man. He’s a nasty judge. He’s a Trump-hating guy. And it’s obvious to everybody in the court it’s a disgrace, frankly, what’s happening. It’s a disgrace.”
Trump was referring to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who he said is a “Clinton appointee.”
Former first lady Melania Trump’s mother, Amalija Knavs, passed away last week at the age of 78.
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“It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved mother, Amalija,” the former first lady wrote in a post on X.
“Amalija Knavs was a strong woman who always carried herself with grace, warmth, and dignity,” Melania wrote. “She was entirely devoted to her husband, daughters, grandson, and son-in-law.”
“We will miss her beyond measure and continue to honor and love her legacy,” she added.
After winning the Iowa Caucuses on Monday night, Trump thanked his late mother-in-law in his victory speech.
“I want to thank my incredible wife, first lady, I’ll say former and maybe future, but more important than Melania, I want to thank her incredible, beautiful mother who passed away a few days ago,” Trump said. “And she’s up there, way up there. She’s looking down and she’s so proud of us. And I just want to say to Amalia, you are special, one of the most special people I’ve ever known.”
The funeral is expected to be held Thursday in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump has been in court this week as part of the civil defamation damages trial stemming from Carroll’s lawsuit claiming he sexually attacked her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s.
The second trial comes after a federal jury in New York City decided in May that Trump was not liable for rape but was liable for sexual abuse and defamation. The former president has been ordered to pay $5 million.
Carroll, 79, alleged that Trump raped her at the Bergdorf Goodman department store across the street from Trump Tower in Manhattan sometime in 1996. According to Carroll, the two had a chance run-in at the store, where Trump was shopping for a gift for “a girl.” She said he asked for her advice, and the two shopped together before he pushed her into a dressing room and assaulted her.
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Trump vehemently denied the allegation, and his denial resulted in Carroll slapping Trump with a defamation lawsuit, claiming that his response caused harm to her reputation.
Trump and his legal team insist that Carroll’s allegations are fabricated, with the former president’s initial reaction including an accusation that Carroll was motivated by wanting to sell copies of her book.
In an exclusive interview just after the jury delivered the verdict, Trump told Fox News Digital that he has “absolutely no idea who this woman is.”
“This verdict is a disgrace,” he told Fox News Digital at the time. “It is a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt in history.”
The former president told reporters last week that he plans to testify in his defense in the current trial, saying he will “explain I don’t know who the hell she is.”
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Carroll, 80, plans to testify about the damage to her career and reputation that resulted from Trump’s public statements. She seeks $10 million in compensatory damages and millions more in punitive damages.
Nine jurors were selected for the trial, which Kaplan said is likely to last three to five days. Testimony will begin Wednesday.