Trump testifies in E. Jean Carroll defamation trial

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Donald Trump says, “I never met the woman,” to Judge Lewis Kaplan as his lawyer Alina Habba stands on January 25, in this courtroom sketch. Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Before Donald Trump took the stand, his lawyer Alina Habba and Judge Lewis Kaplan had a 10-minute conversation about the scope of the former president’s testimony.

In the middle of that discussion, Trump raised his voice and said unprompted, and out of nowhere, “I never met the woman. I do not know who this woman is. I was not at the trial. I don’t know who this woman is.”

Kaplan told Trump to keep his voice down. As the judge asked Habba if her client was aware of the limits on his testimony, Trump leaned over to Habba, who was mid-answer and whispered.

Kaplan sternly told Trump he was interrupting the proceedings and it was not permitted.

At one point Habba consulted Susan Necheles, one of Trump’s criminal defense attorneys in the New York hush-money case, who was sitting in the well of the courtroom.

Thereafter, the jury was brought in and Habba called Trump as her witness. He walked past the jury – most of them had their heads down and only a few appeared to look at Trump.

Standing next to the witness stand, Trump raised his right hand and swore to give truthful testimony.

Seated, Trump answered the questions and stopped abruptly when the judge cut him off. When Carroll’s attorneys tried to ask Trump questions about the first trial, which he did not attend, his lawyers objected. Trump turned toward the jury and shook his head from side to side.

Unlike at the civil fraud trial where Trump gave meandering answers, attacked the judge and New York attorney general in the courtroom, and gave political speeches from the witness stand, he did not make ancillary comments while the jury was in the courtroom.


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