Trump ‘made his own bed,’ cannot add witness for writer’s trial – judge

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge rejected Donald Trump’s bid to add a new expert witness just two months before a trial addressing how much the former U.S. president owes for defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll, saying Trump “made his own bed” by waiting too long.

Trump had claimed he would suffer “extreme prejudice” without a new damages expert for the scheduled Jan. 16, 2024, trial.

He said he hadn’t foreseen a need for one until after U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who oversees the case, on Oct. 5 excluded testimony from another expert.

But Kaplan said both sides were required to propose expert witnesses a year ago, and Trump had been “on notice” in March that his expert’s testimony would likely be excluded.

“Although Mr. Trump states that he is ‘not asking to extend or delay the start of trial,’ there is a strong likelihood — given his past actions in these cases — that he would do so if his application were granted,” Kaplan wrote.

That Trump’s chosen expert “was unreliable and would not testify had been known to him for months. Yet he did nothing,” Kaplan added. “He has made his own bed and now must lie in it.”

Trump’s lawyers are defending him at trial against New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil fraud claims related to his family business, the Trump Organization. A spokesperson for the lawyers had no immediate comment.

Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, is seeking at least $10 million over comments Trump made in June 2019 in the White House after she first publicly accused him of raping her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Trump denied knowing Carroll, and said she fabricated her claim to promote her memoir.

In May, a jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million for sexual assault and defamation in a second lawsuit, after Trump again denied her claims in October 2022. Trump is appealing.

The case is Carroll v. Trump, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 20-07311.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis)