NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump rejected his last chance Sunday to testify at a civil trial where a longtime advice columnist has accused him of raping her in a luxury department store dressing room in 1996.
Trump, a Republican candidate for president in 2024, was given until 5 p.m. Sunday by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to file a request to testify. Nothing was filed.
It was not a surprise. Trump has not shown up once during the two-week Manhattan trial where writer E. Jean Carroll testified for several days, repeating claims she first made publicly in a 2019 memoir. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages totaling millions of dollars.
The jury has also watched lengthy excerpts from an October videotaped deposition in which Trump vehemently denied raping Carroll or ever really knowing her.
Without Trump’s testimony, lawyers were scheduled to make closing arguments Monday, with deliberations likely to begin on Tuesday.
After prosecutors rested their case Thursday, Trump attorney Joe Tacopina immediately rested the defense case as well without calling any witnesses. He did not request additional time for Trump to decide to testify. Tacopina declined in an email to comment after the deadline passed Sunday.
On Thursday, Kaplan had given Trump extra time to change his mind and request to testify, though the judge did not promise he would grant such a request to reopen the defense case so Trump could take the stand.
At the time, Kaplan noted that he’d heard about news reports Thursday in which Trump told reporters while visiting his golf course in Doonbeg, Ireland, that he would “probably attend” the trial. Trump also criticized Kaplan, a Bill Clinton appointee, as an “extremely hostile” and “rough judge” who “doesn’t like me very much.”