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Trump’s Legal Labyrinth: A Call for a Mulligan in the Carroll Case

Credit: NBC News

In a twist that feels more like a scene from a courtroom drama than the headlines, former President Donald Trump is waving the legal equivalent of a “do-over” flag following a jaw-dropping jury decision. Picture this: a court orders you to write a check for a cool $83.3 million because of something you said. Sounds intense, right? Well, that’s precisely the pickle Trump finds himself in after a defamation lawsuit with advice columnist E. Jean Carroll took a turn for the pricey.

But wait, there’s more to the story, and it reads like a script from a legal eagle’s dream. The man at the center of the storm, Trump, isn’t one to take things lying down. Nope, he’s demanding a brand-new trial, citing what he sees as a courtroom version of a straightjacket placed on his testimony. The referee in this legal match, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan (a nod from former President Clinton), apparently set some strict ground rules on what Trump could and couldn’t say while on the witness stand.

Imagine trying to tell your side of the story, but someone’s already decided which parts you can share. That’s the crux of Trump’s argument. He feels like he was handcuffed (metaphorically speaking, of course) during his testimony, getting cut off mid-sentence and only having a fleeting five minutes in the spotlight.

The legal eagles representing Trump, Alina Habba and John Sauer, are pointing fingers at a pre-testimony chat between the judge and Trump’s defense. They claim this convo unfairly clipped Trump’s wings, limiting him to barely two questions—one of which got an objection faster than you can say “objection!”

In the heart of the drama, Trump’s main beef is he didn’t get to fully delve into his mental state concerning Carroll’s accusations, reducing his defense to a simple “No” when asked if he ever instructed anyone to hurt Carroll. He added a bit of a personal touch, saying he just wanted to defend himself, his family, and, oh, the presidency. But faster than you can whisper “plot twist,” Carroll’s lawyer objected, and the judge told the jury to erase Trump’s remarks from their memory.

Fast forward to the end of this legal saga, and the jury hands down an $83.3 million bill to Trump for defaming Carroll back in 2019, after she accused him of sexual assault—an accusation he denies. Not missing a beat, Trump is now asking the judge to flip the script and nix the verdict. And because every drama needs a cliffhanger, Trump’s also trying to hit the pause button on coughing up the cash, hinting at a twist in the tale that could see the hefty sum either disappear or shrink.

Meanwhile, Trump’s financial saga thickens with a separate but equally eye-watering penalty of over $454 million from a civil fraud case, with the interest meter ticking at more than $111,000 a day. With estimators tagging Trump’s net worth somewhere between $2.6 and $3.1 billion, the big question is: Does he have enough in the piggy bank to settle his growing tab?

In a world where legal battles can feel like a game of high-stakes Monopoly, Trump’s latest move is akin to asking for a fresh roll of the dice in the Carroll case, all while juggling a financial hot potato that keeps getting hotter. As the drama unfolds, one thing’s for sure: the courtroom will be the stage for the next act in this ongoing saga, with the audience eagerly awaiting the next twist in the tale.