NEW YORK — Lawyers for Donald Trump and E. Jean Carroll, the woman who has accused him of raping her, both rested their cases Thursday in the civil trial over Carroll’s battery and defamation lawsuit.
Carroll called 11 witnesses since the trial started last Tuesday. Trump’s lawyers called none, and his lawyer said the former president waived his right to testify. But while playing golf in Ireland on Thursday, Trump told reporters he intended to return to the U.S. to “confront” Carroll at the trial.
Trump’s surprise declaration prompted U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, in the final moments of Thursday’s court proceeding, to grant Trump until Sunday evening to tell the court if he wants to testify in his own defense, a step that would require the judge to permit him to re-open his case.
The trial does not meet on Friday. If Trump does not testify, lawyers will make closing arguments on Monday, and then the case will go to the jury.
Trump has not attended the trial in Manhattan federal court — though jurors did watch parts of a videotaped deposition in which Trump denied knowing Carroll and defended his infamous comments about sexual assault in the “Access Hollywood” tape.
Carroll, a writer and former advice columnist, has accused Trump of raping her in a dressing room at luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. Trump has denied the accusations, calling her story a “hoax” that “never happened.”
In Ireland on Thursday, Trump attacked both Carroll and Kaplan.
“I have to go back for a woman that made a false accusation about me and I have a judge who’s extremely hostile,” Trump told reporters while golfing in Doonbeg, County Clare, according to The Guardian.
“I’m going to go back, and I’m going to confront this woman. This woman is a disgrace and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen in our country.”
In court on Thursday, Kaplan told Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina that he would allow him until 5 p.m. on Sunday to make “a motion on behalf of Mr. Trump to reopen his case for the purpose — and the sole purpose — of testifying as a witness in this case.”
“I am not saying I will grant it,” Kaplan added. “If it is made, I will consider it.”
If Trump’s lawyer doesn’t file a motion by the deadline, the judge said, then “that ship has irrevocably sailed.”