Trump lawyer seeks monthlong delay in trial over rape claim

NEW YORK (AP) – An attorney for Donald Trump is seeking a one-month delay in the trial regarding a columnist’s claims that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s, contending that his client’s right to a fair trial depends on a “cooling off” period following the former president’s indictment and arraignment.

The trial was set for April 25. In a letter Tuesday to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, attorney Joseph Tacopina cited “the recent deluge of prejudicial media coverage” surrounding Trump’s arrest and court appearance in arguing for a delay. The former president was charged March 30 with 34 felony counts related to allegations that he paid hush money to an adult film star, Stormy Daniels.

The civil case before Kaplan was brought against Trump in November by E. Jean Carroll, a columnist who says the wealthy real estate developer raped her in early 1996 after a chance meeting at the Bergdorf Goodman department store.

Trump has repeatedly and emphatically denied the allegation. A jury will be asked to decide whether the rape occurred and if Trump defamed Carroll with his comments.

A temporary state law that took effect last year allows adult rape victims to sue their abusers, even if attacks happened decades ago.

Tacopina’s letter seeking a delay in the trial for Carroll’s civil suit followed Kaplan’s order on Monday directing parties in the case to notify him by April 20 whether they will be present throughout the trial in Manhattan federal court. Carroll’s attorney has said she will attend; Trump’s attorney has not responded to requests for comment on Kaplan’s order.

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said a response to the request for a delay will be filed in a letter to the judge. The lawyer and the judge are not related.

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