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Trump motion for mistrial in E. Jean Carroll case is denied

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected Donald Trump’s motion seeking a mistrial in the E. Jean Carroll case after a jury found last month that the former president must pay her more than $83 million.

Trump’s attorneys had argued in their mistrial motion that Carroll deleted threatening messages, including death threats, which they said was cause for a mistrial.

In a 30-page decision Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said that while Carroll admitted she deleted some of the purported death threats, the details of the deletions remain unclear. He ruled that Trump’s team failed to demonstrate that any of the missing messages would have aided his defense, which would have been necessary to show that her deletions were prejudicial.

Attorneys for Trump and Carroll did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Kaplan said that Trump’s attorneys knew as far back as January 2023 that Carroll had deleted some emails, and she repeated that testimony at her first trial last year. The judge pointed out that Trump’s team never followed up on those admissions by bringing them to the court’s attention or by seeking to recover those messages.

“Mr. Trump has offered no evidence that he ever even attempted to recover any of these messages through discovery or otherwise,” Kaplan said. “In fact, he does not even argue that the messages in question have been permanently lost and are now unrecoverable. This failure alone was sufficient basis to deny the alternative relief he sought.”

“Even if it is accurate, it is far from sufficient to warrant relief,” Kaplan said in the decision.

Kaplan also noted that during the trial, the jury heard testimony about “the disposal of some electronic communications,” noting that both sides argued what they believed to be the significance of Carroll’s actions.

“The Court gave an appropriate instruction on the subject. And the jury rendered its verdict,” Kaplan said. “A mistrial at this point would be a bootless exercise.”

Kaplan’s decision comes after he denied previous motions for a mistrial during the trial.

A New York jury last month reached a verdict that awarded Carroll $83.3 million in damages. Carroll had argued that Trump defamed her. Last year, a jury found the former president liable for sexually abusing Carroll in the 1990s.

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