Donald Trump asked a federal judge to delay the scheduled April 25 trial over whether he defamed former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll by denying he raped her, citing the "deluge of prejudicial media coverage" of criminal charges against him, Reuters reports. In a letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, Trump's lawyers said a four-week "cooling off" period to at least May 23 was necessary to guarantee the former president's right to a fair trial in Carroll's case. Absent a delay, "many, if not most, prospective jurors will have the criminal allegations top of mind when judging President Trump's defense against Ms. Carroll's allegations," Trump's lawyers Joe Tacopina and Alina Habba said in the letter. Prospective jurors, they added, "will have the breathless coverage of President Trump's alleged extra-marital affair with Stormy Daniels still ringing in their ears if [the] trial goes forward as scheduled."
Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll unrelated to the judge, said she will respond to Trump's request in a letter to the judge. On April 4, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, in a case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Those charges concerned Trump's alleged concealment of a $130,000 hush money payment to buy Daniels' silence before the 2016 election about the porn star's alleged affair with him, which he denies. Carroll is seeking damages over Trump's denial on his Truth Social media platform that he raped her in late 1995 or early 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan. She is also suing Trump for battery over the alleged encounter, which Trump has also said never happened. Trump said he did not know Carroll, that she made up the rape claim to promote her memoir, and that the claim was a "hoax," "lie," "con job" and "complete scam." Carroll, 79,has long accused Trump of stalling to keep jurors from hearing her case. She also sued Trump for defamation in November 2019 over his similar denial of her rape claim five months earlier. That case is still pending.