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On cusp of deliberations, Trump falsely claims on Truth Social that he’s ‘not allowed to speak or defend’ himself

Donald Trump appears in a photo.

Former President Donald Trump appeared at a rally on Oct. 1, 2022, in Warren, Michigan. (Photo by Emily Elconin/Getty Images.)

On the cusp of jury deliberations, former President Donald Trump lied on Truth Social that he was “not allowed to speak or defend” himself in E. Jean Carroll’s civil rape case.

“Waiting for a jury decision on a False Accusation where I, despite being a current political candidate and leading all others in both parties, am not allowed to speak or defend myself, even as hard nosed reporters scream questions about this case at me,” Trump falsely claimed on Tuesday morning. “In the meantime, the other side has a book falsely accusing me of Rape, & is working with the press.”

In fact, Trump declined multiple attempts to testify live that were offered to him by a federal judge.

Exactly one week ago, Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina informed Senior U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that his client would not testify live. Tacopina added the next day that the defense would not present any case at all.

Even then, Judge Kaplan left the door slightly ajar for Trump to change his mind. The judge gave the former president a deadline of Sunday to request to reopen the defense case, in order to allow Trump to testify. That deadline came and went without any application from Trump’s attorneys.

Trump avoiding appearing in court, while misstating the facts of the case on his social media platform, had gotten him in trouble earlier in the trial.

Just before Carroll first took the stand on April 26, Trump swiped at her allegations as a “made up SCAM” — in a post that brought up topics barred from trial. Trump implied that he wanted to admit DNA evidence into the case, which the judge wrongly prohibited.

For years, the former president declined to produce genetic material for Carroll’s legal team, and once he changed his mind, proposed to trade it for discovery materials that the judge panned as a “quid pro quo.” Carroll’s legal team called Trump’s about-face on the DNA issue a delay tactic, and the judge ultimately found Trump made his belated request too late.

When presented with that prior Truth Social post, Judge Kaplan pointedly urged Tacopina to speak to his client to keep him from “potential liability.”

“I hope you’re more successful because we are getting into an area, conceivably, in which your client may or may not be tampering with a new source of potential liability,” Kaplan said in late April.

“I think you know what I mean,” he added.

Judge Kaplan spelled out his implication more clearly later that day.

“I am simply suggesting to you that there are some relevant United States statutes here and somebody on your side ought to be thinking about them,” Kaplan noted.

Former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner believed that Carroll’s legal team may decide to escalate matters.

“I would not be surprised if Roberta Kaplan moves by order to show cause for dramatic financial sanctions on former President Trump for today’s untruthful post on Truth Social,” said Epner, a partner for the firm Rottenberg Lipman Rich PC.

Ultimately, Roberta Kaplan opted for a far more modest request: a curative jury instruction. The judge declined to issue that relief.

“We’re dealing here with what we’re dealing with, and I have no further comment,” Judge Kaplan remarked, echoing Tacopina’s statement to him at a sidebar late last week.

Carroll’s lead attorney shares a surname with the judge, but isn’t related to him.

The jury began their deliberations at 11:50 a.m. ET.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."