Controversial ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape to Be Presented in Trump’s Defamation Trial Damages Phase Next Week

 Controversial ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape to Be Presented in Trump’s Defamation Trial Damages Phase Next Week

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In a pivotal development, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan has ruled that the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” video, featuring Donald Trump making derogatory comments about women, will be shown during the damages phase of his defamation trial set to commence on January 16. The ruling establishes parameters for the trial, allowing for a nuanced examination of the former president’s conduct.

Judge Kaplan, in a written order, restricted the evidence that lawyers can introduce but sanctioned the inclusion of the video. The same video had been witnessed by a jury in May, which concluded that Trump sexually abused columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996 and defamed her in 2022, resulting in a $5 million damages award.

The ‘Access Hollywood’ tape captures Trump boasting about inappropriate behavior towards women who were not his wife in 2005. Trump had dismissed it as “locker room banter” and a “private conversation” during the 2016 presidential election.

Judge Kaplan asserted that the video could provide valuable insights into Trump’s state of mind concerning Carroll’s allegations, drawing parallels between the described behavior in the tape and Carroll’s assault claim.

“The jury could find that Mr. Trump was prepared to admit privately to sexual assaults eerily similar to that alleged by Ms. Carroll,” stated Judge Kaplan.

Trump’s legal representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

While the jury in May did not find adequate evidence to support Carroll’s claim of rape, they did determine that Trump had defamed her. The judge clarified that the upcoming trial would focus solely on determining damages for defamation.

Furthermore, Judge Kaplan ruled against the introduction of evidence or arguments suggesting Trump did not assault Carroll, that she fabricated her account, or that she had financial and political motivations.

Carroll, aged 80, is expected to testify, seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and additional punitive damages. Trump, 77, a key Republican figure, is listed as a witness, though his appearance remains uncertain.

Trump will be prohibited from testifying on whether he believed Carroll’s account, questioned her motives, or claim he did not sexually assault her. The judge also barred Trump from asserting he lacked malice when making public statements in June 2019.

In response to the ruling, Trump mentioned during a recent speech in Iowa that he was advised by his lawyer not to attend last year’s trial, dismissing it as beneath him. He expressed displeasure at having to pay money to someone he claimed not to know.

Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, indicated that the admission of the “Access Hollywood” tape as evidence would be part of Trump’s appeal of last year’s verdict.

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