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Trump can’t hinge DNA sample on demand for missing report pages

A federal judge chalked up the former president's belated grousing about a missing report appendix to "either a tactical shift or just an afterthought." 

MANHATTAN (CN) — Donald Trump’s quid pro quo offer to finally provide a DNA sample in civil rape litigation earned a swift shutdown this week from a federal judge.

“There is no justification for any such deal,” U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote.

Trump has for years refused to produce his DNA to test against a sample that the writer E. Jean Carroll has preserved for some 30 years on the jacket dress that she says she was wearing when the future U.S. president raped her in a dressing room of the Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman.

Now facing both a defamation suit related to Carroll's claims and a civil rape case under New York's temporarily reopened statute of limitations, Trump offered in letter to freely produce a sample if Carroll produces a 13-page appendix that was left out of a DNA report she entered into the public record during his single term in office. 

“Mr. Trump is indeed willing to provide a DNA sample for the sole purpose of comparing it to the DNA found on the dress at issue, so long as the missing pages of the DNA report are promptly produced prior to our client producing his DNA,” Trump's attorney Joseph Tacopina wrote last week

Kaplan did not take long to shoot down the proffer.

“Either Ms. Carroll is obliged to supply the omitted appendix or she is not. Either Mr. Trump is obliged to provide a DNA sample or he is not. Neither is a quid pro quo for the other," his 21-page ruling states. "And the short answer to Mr. Trump’s request is clear. Mr. Trump is not entitled to the undisclosed appendix.”

Kaplan also questioned why Trump waited three years to begin looking for these report pages. 

“The patently untimely request for the appendix thus reflects either a tactical shift or just an afterthought,” the Clinton-appointed judge wrote. “But whatever the explanation, the effort comes too late.” 

While Trump won't be getting the pages, the court is also unlikely to order production of his DNA as discovery in the defamation case as the parties already ended discovery.

A panel of the the D.C. Court of Appeals held arguments last month on whether Trump can have the Department of Justice stand in for him in the defamation case — a move that would effectively end the litigation since government entities would have sovereign immunity from such claims. Carroll’s second suit directly accusing Trump of rape heads toward trial meanwhile this spring. 

Both naturally rest upon whether or not the assault occurred, making Carroll’s dress the symbolic center of the claim. But Carroll, too, missed the boat on grounding its relevance in a forensic analysis. 

“Her counsel have had plenty of opportunities in both of the two related cases to move to compel Mr. Trump to submit a DNA sample. Had they done so, they almost certainly would have gotten it,” Kaplan wrote. “They obviously decided to go to trial without it.” 

Kaplan noted that a DNA-gathering process at this point would almost certainly delay trial, and may not even lead to admissible or significant evidence. He also noted that Trump’s legal team has stated it will submit its own DNA expert evidence. 

Trump's attorney — the firm Tacopina Seigel & DeOreo joined the case recently — declined to comment on the ruling.

Categories: Civil Rights Media National Trials

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