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Trump will ask 2nd Circuit to overturn verdict on sex assault

The former president's attorney signaled that they plan to complain about the "Access Hollywood" tape shown to jurors several times at trial, among other things.

MANHATTAN (CN) — Two days after a jury found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation, Donald Trump began work to appeal the outcome of the historic federal civil rape trial. 

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan closed the case, issuing a final judgment that orders Trump to pay writer E. Jean Carroll $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages, just two hours before Trump filed the notice of appeal.

The notice offers little insight to what errors Trump will say occurred at trial, but his attorney Joseph Tacopina signaled that they will be challenging, among other things, that the jury was repeatedly shown old footage from "Access Hollywood," an entertainment news program, where Trump was featured back in the day as the host of the television game show "The Apprentice." Unaware that he was being recorded on a hot mic, Trump brags in the 2005 footage about an encounter with a woman where he "moved on her like a bitch," and says that when he sees beautiful women he will "just start kissing them ... I don't even wait."

The behavior Trump described aligns both with Carroll's account and the testimony offered by two other women who accuse Trump of sexual assault: namely, that he suddenly and aggressively began kissing them. 

Tacopina told reporters the tape thwarted federal rules of evidence that block prejudicial material. He also took issue with the jury being kept anonymous even from attorneys in the case, and said he agrees with Trump’s quibbles about finding fair jurors in the city where Trump rose to fame and built his real estate empire. 

“[Trump] is firm in his belief, as many people are, that you cannot get a fair trial in New York City, based on the jury pool,” Tacopina told reporters Tuesday after the verdict. “And I think one could argue that that's probably an accurate assessment, based on what happened here today."

Jurors took less than three hours to deliberate before reaching a verdict in favor of Carroll, who says Trump raped her in 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman fitting room after the two recognized each other and began shopping together. The jury found Carroll’s evidence met the bar for proving battery as well as defamation, based on Trump’s various denials of Carroll’s story. 

Trump did not testify nor call any witnesses in his defense. Jurors heard from him only in the videotaped deposition where he defended his comments in the “Access Hollywood” tape about “stars” being allowed to grab women’s genitals and repeatedly insulted Carroll and her attorney. 

Tacopina instead worked in his closing arguments to sow doubt in Carroll’s story, flagging what he said were inconsistencies and improbabilities in her testimony and that of the two friends who testified that Carroll told them about the attack at the time.  

Attorneys for both parties did not immediately return a request for comment on the notice of appeal. 

Follow @NinaPullano
Categories / Appeals, Civil Rights, Media, National, Trials

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