Why is Trump fuming at a ‘liberal megadonor’ Reid Hoffman in the E Jean Carroll rape trial?

Why is Trump fuming at a ‘liberal megadonor’ Reid Hoffman in the E Jean Carroll rape trial?

Donald Trump tore into his rape accuser, E Jean Carroll, on Truth Social in a post that accused her of being bankrolled by a liberal megadonor.

It was a scorching attack that nonetheless had his own attorneys in the most trouble later in the day.

The president wrote in a pair of posts on Wednesday morning that the author and advice columnist was running a “made up scam” and had been “caught lying” about the funding for her legal effort, which is likely in the thousands of dollars (if not much higher) even as the trial is just beginning.

“They got caught lying! The Miss Bergdorf Goodman case is financed by a big political donor that they tried to hide,” he wrote in one post.

In another, he added: “The E. Jean Carroll case, Ms. Bergdorf Goodman, is a made up SCAM. Her lawyer is a political operative, financed by a big political donor that they said didn’t exist, only to get caught lying about that.”

The attack would lead to a judge admonishing Mr Trump’s lawyers later in the day, warning them that their client needed to stop posting about the trial on social media.

“Your client is basically endeavoring to speak to his public, but more troublesome, to the jury in this case,” Judge Lewis Kaplan told the ex-president’s attorney, Joe Tacopina.

“I will address them with my client, to the degree I have an ability to,” Mr Tacopina responded.

The judge shot back, letting Mr Tacopina know he was serious: “I hope you’re more successful, because we’re getting into an area where your client might be tampering with a potential new source of liability. And, I think you know what I mean.”

That stunning exchange belied a larger issue in the case: Whether the funding of Ms Carroll’s legal expenses by a private nonprofit primarily funded by liberal megadonor Reid Hoffman has any bearing on the case.

Former Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll answers questions from her lawyer Michael Ferrara during a civil trial to decide whether former U.S. President Donald Trump raped Carroll in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, and defamed her by denying it happened, in New York

(REUTERS)

That issue has been raised by Mr Trump’s attorneys, who won a small concession from Judge Kaplan as the trial was set to begin: The discovery phase of the lawsuit was expanded to include for questions and the production of documents regarding Mr Hoffman and other donors to the nonprofit. But whether they’ll actually be able to use any evidence they gather is uncertain, as Ms Carroll’s attorneys have asked the judge to prevent any mention of that topic during the trial. Their motion is still undecided.

Mr Hoffman, who co-founded the business social networking site LinkedIn, is a known donor to Democratic candidates and causes. He has commented publicly about the case, and theoretically his involvement could be relevant if Judge Kaplan finds that the political motivation of Ms Carroll or those supporting her is of relevance to trial.

Former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, center, leaves federal court with members of her legal team, after testifying in her rape trial against former President Donald Trump, Wednesday April 26, 2023, in New York

(AP)

“While Trump’s legal team has characterized my support of Carroll’s lawsuit as ‘secret,’ I want to be clear that I’ve never taken any steps to hide the financial support that I have provided to this lawsuit after it started,” he wrote in a post on the site last week.

Ms Carroll had initially denied (under oath) receiving any outside funding for the case, but her lawyers disclosed last month that she “now recalls that at some point, her counsel secured additional funding from a nonprofit organization to offset certain expenses and legal fees.” It’s unclear if the disrepancy in her statements will cause any issues for her legal case against the former president.

She is suing Mr Trump under a new law in the state of New York that allows for accusers to confront those they allege sexually assaulted them years after the alleged incidents took place. A separate defamation suit she brought in 2019 has been indefinitely postponed.

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