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As Joe Tacopina Says Trump Will Not Testify Bid To Unseal Motions, Exhibits & Deposition

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 4 – When E. Jean Carroll testified on April 26 on direct examination about Donald Trump allegedly raping her in Bergdorf Goodman's in 1996, then defaming her in 2019, Trump's lawyer Joe Tacopina repeatedly objected. 

  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York  Judge Louis A. Kaplan denied most objections - and told Tacopina that his client might be subjecting himself to liability under other Federal statutes with his posts on Truth Social (and his son Eric's statements).

  Early on May 1, Trump's lawyer Tacopina filed an 18-page motion for a mistrial. Motion on Patreon here.

 Inner City Press live tweeted the direct testimony, thread here

Then on April 27, the cross examination, here

  On May 1, the cross examination continued, Thread here

May 2 saw Lisa Birnbach and Jessica Leeds, a Bergdorf supervisor and the plaintiff's psychological expert, concluding with confirmation that Trump will not be coming to the trial. Thread here.

On May 3, after the psychologist Leslie Lebowitz, the plaintiff put on her sister Candy, Natasha Stoynoff and... the Access Hollywood tape. Followed up by Trump's deposition. Thread here.

On May 4 Carroll put on Carol Martin and a professor of social media, then rested. While Tacopina said he'd heard from Trump in the morning he would not come, Judge Kaplan cited statements "in the British Isles" and left the door open for a motion under Sunday, 5 pm. Thread here.

Jury entering!

Judge Kaplan: We'll continue playing Mr. Trump's deposition.

Q: Who is in this photo? Trump: John Johnson... I thought he was good at what he did, seemed like a nice guy, I don't know. Q: You said Ms Carroll was trying to sell a book. Trump: Right 

 Q: Did you know anything about the financial arrangement between Ms. Carroll and her publisher? Trump: I have no idea. Q: Did anyone on your team do any research into Ms. Carroll? Trump: Not that I know. It's possible.

 [Deposition playing for jury] Trump: I think she's sick, mentally sick.... Didn't she say it was sexy to be raped? Didn't she tell Anderson Cooper that? By the way, rape is not sexy.

 Judge Kaplan: Pause! We've got to back up, an A/V problem. Now it's fixed. [Deposition video re-starts] Trump, to Roberta Kaplan: You're a political operative too. You're a disgrace. Q: You called it a hoax, I take it you're saying Ms. Carroll fabricated? Yes.

 [Depo] Q: You use hoax a lot. Can you give examples? Trump: Sure. Ukraine. Lying to the FISA court. Lying to Congress - hoax, lying by this scum we have in this country. They spied on my campaign. I could get a whole list of them. This is a hoax too. [Depo]

Q: Didn't you also refer to the use of mail-in ballots as a hoax? Trump: Yes. Q: Don't you vote by mail? Trump: I do. But I have no idea what happened to it afterwards.

 [In depo, Trump is played the Access Hollywood tape] Trump: "Now she's got the big phony t*ts.. When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab 'em by the p*ssy.... Always good you don't fall out of the bus, remember Gerald Ford? Billy Bush"

 [Deposition continues] Q: You said, You can grab 'em by the p*ssy? Trump: Historically it's been true. If you look back, at stars. Q: Are you familiar with Natasha Stoynoff? Trump. No. Q: She wrote about you at People magazine? Trump: She said I was aggressive...

[Depo] Trump: She wrote a nice story, then came up with this phony charge Q: Let me show you a video. [On it: Trump: The story about Melania and I, our first anniversary - now 12 years later, she says I made inappropriate advances. Why wasn't it part of the story?

 [Depo] Q: What do you mean by, Would not be my first choice? Trump (to Roberta Kaplan) You wouldn't be my first choice either, I hope you're not insulted.

 [With depo show over, Judge Kaplan says, Next witness. It's Carol Martin.] Martin: My name is Frances Carol Martin. Judge Kaplan: You may proceed, Ms. Kaplan. Counsel: How long have you known Ms. Carroll? Martin: 30 years.

 Counsel: When did America's Talking broadcast? Martin: July 4, 1994 to July 4, 1996. In Fort Lee, NJ. Counsel: You worked there then? Martin: Yes Counsel: Roger Ailes was involved? Martin: Yes. Counsel: What did you do next? Martin: The People's Court with Ed Koch

Counsel: What did you do with E. Jean Carroll at that time? Martin: What I call aging women things - lots of lunches, comedy clubs, things we liked to do. Counsel: Did Ms. Carroll tell you about Bergdorf Goodman? Martin: Yes. We went from the studio to my house.

 Counsel: Did you think? Martin: Something and I'm not exactly sure what. Counsel: What did Ms. Carroll say? Martin: She said, Trump attacked me. Counsel: Did you know who she meant? Martin: There is only only Trump I knew. Part of the landscape.

Counsel: Was she crying? Martin: No. But she was upset, frenzied. Counsel: Did you touch E. Jean? Martin: We hugged. It was disconcerting. Counsel: Did Ms. Carroll say what she planned to do?

Martin: She said she'd called Lisa Birnbaum and said, go to the police Martin: I told her Donald Trump has a lot of attorneys and he would bury her... Then when she told me she was dedicating the book to me and Lisa, for "keeping the covenant." She said - Tacopina: I have to object. Judge Kaplan: Overruled

Counsel: Did Ms Carroll give you a draft? Martin: Yes, at a dinner on the Upper West Side also with Lisa & her husband Michael. She brought 11 pages. Counsel: Did you discuss it?  Martin: No. I didn't read it right away. Counsel: Did you plan to come forward? No.

 Martin: It was 2019, I was worried about the climate of the country, security, so were members of my family. Counsel: Did you later agree to be identified? Martin: Yes. On the NYT's The Daily podcast. Counsel: Still concerned about security? Martin: Yes.

Counsel: Do you like Donald Trump? Martin: Not particularly. My world view is very different. And some in his party. Counsel: Are you testifying because of your political views? Martin: No. Counsel: Did you have to give a deposition? Martin: Yes.

Counsel: Is that your email? [Exhibit on screen] Judge Kaplan: You may want to change it. [Note: so far, virtually none of the exhibits in the case, shown to the jury and therefore presumptively public, are available to the public or press. That may change...

The email - Inner City Press has seen the address & is voluntarily not publishing it - is about "Nambia." Martin: I thought he should have known better Counsel: You said to Ms Carroll that when better you and she should scheme... Martin: There were health concerns Counsel: Why are you here today?

Martin: To recount what my friend told me in 1996, I believed it then and I believe it now- Tacopina: Objection. It's inappropriate and should be stricken. Judge Kaplan: I'll strike that last sentence. We'll break for 15 minutes

[Before the break, Roberta Kaplan said "no further questions. So in 15 minutes, the cross examination - as short as with Ms. Stoynoff?] Going to check Ed Sheeran / Let's Get It On trial jury deliberations, and check other cases. Feed will continue.

They've back. But before jury comes in: Judge Kaplan: I understand the media wants access to the exhibits. Talk to the parties... [But they've said no] Jury entering! Judge Kaplan: Mr. Tacopina? Tacopina: Ms. Martin, you have donated some ten times to liberals?

Martin: Yes... Small donations. Tacopina: You turned over some texts and emails in discovery? Martin: Yes. Tacopina: I'm going to discuss a few of them with you. We'll go one by one. Martin: I want the addresses out...

Tacopina: Let's look at these exhibits -- Judge Kaplan: Why don't you just ask if she has said these things? Tacopina: I want to ask. Ms. Martin, did you say this man is spreading his stank all over? Martin: Sounds like me.

 Tacopina: Here you are writing about Ivanka Trump at the G20 meeting, you say how can they sit there and quote Charles Blow's tweets - yes? Martin: That's how I felt. Tacopina: You called them the two junior grifters - who are they? Martin: Ivanka and Jared

 Tacopina: Ms. Martin, what is a scheme? Martin: To put together a plan. Tacopina: A secret? Martin: Not necessarily. This was right after the election of Mr. Trump. This was a typical conversation. Tacopina: Ms. Carroll said, I have something special for you

Martin: I think she was referring to the stuffed squirrel she gave as a gift. Tacopina: When did you think of that? Martin: I don't know. Tacopina: I'm going to go to the deposition --

Roberta Kaplan: Objection your Honor

Tacopina: During this time you were married to Joseph Perry? Martin: Yes. Tacopina: But no one else was in the house? Martin: No they were not. Tacopina: Ms. Carroll said she felt physically OK? Martin: Maybe [not?] in so many words...

Tacopina: reading from the deposition, you said she felt OK, so you told her -- Judge Kaplan: Please get to the question. Tacopina: I'm just setting it up. Judge Kaplan: Questions, not setting up. We're not setting up in a restaurant.

Tacopina: I'll forget that  Tacopina asks another question. Judge Kaplan: Argumentative. [Reads definition from Black's Law Dictionary] Tacopina: Then you communicated with the lawyer Noah [Noam] Biale?

Martin: I was told I needed a lawyer.

Tacopina: You wrote, No more texts until further notice. Why? Martin: I'm not sure what I meant by that. But I was told someone would be coming to subpoena me for this case. Tacopina: Is that it? Martin: Is that it?? Tacopina: Is that what you wanted to say? Yes

Tacopina: I'd like to show you Defense Exhibit ER, you told a friend that Ms. Carroll intended to sue Donald Trump for rape, that "it's gone to another level" and that for Ms. Carroll "this quest has become a life style." Martin: I know what I meant.

 Tacopina: What did you mean? Martin: I was being hyperbolic. Lifestyle is a word I use. Tacopina: I'm going to show you a text you sent to your daughter in which you're venting... Martin: I'm not sure I'm seeing the right one.

 Tacopina: You said Ms. Carroll was loving the adulation? Martin: Yes. Tacopina: You wrote, In too deep, I'm just not there for it Judge Kaplan: How much longer, Mr. Tacopina? Tacopina: Ten minutes. I'll finish after lunch. Judge Kaplan: You're telling the jurors

 Judge Kaplan: Lunch break, then.

OK - they've back - and Judge Kaplan is responding to the letter Inner City Press emailed to chambers and the parties late morning. He says the parties must respond by Saturday - and he'll GRANT Inner City Press' request to unseal motion, but only AFTER verdict.

Tacopina: When you were meeting with [likeminded] people around the 2016 election, you never brought up that your friend told you she had been raped by Donald Trump? Martin: No. Tacopina: Thank you very much for your time. Nothing further.

 Judge Kaplan: Re-direct. Carroll's lawyer: Do you recall giving this testimony at your deposition, page 65, When you were venting to your daughter, did you doubt E. Jean's story? A: No reason to doubt it. Martin: I recall that

 Counsel: Would you lie to stop the Trump train, in this trial, would you perjure yourself? Martin: No, of course not. Counsel: Nothing further. Judge Kaplan: Re-cross? Tacopina: Would you have said these things to Ms. Carroll's face? Martin: Yes, I think so

Judge Kaplan: Thank you, Ms. Martin, you're excused. Next witness. It's Professor Ashlee Humphreys of Northwestern. Counsel: What was your Ph.D in? Humphreys: Cultural sociology and marketing.

Counsel: Professor Humphreys, are you being paid for this? Humphreys: Yes. $500 for preparation, $850 for testimony. Counsel: That's per hour? Humphreys: Yes. Counsel: Let's go to the deck...  [Now published to the jury - will parties seek to seal, on Saturday?]

 Counsel: How many followers does Trump have on Truth Social? Humphreys: 4.7 million Counsel: How did your measure how his statements injured Ms. Carroll? Humphreys: Let me explain

Counsel: How many articles did you consider? Humphreys: Of the 60 in the complaint by Ms. Carroll against Mr. Trump, I chose 17. Counsel: What website? Humphreys: HuffPost, WaPo, ABC, etc. I figured how many people visit each, by page views Inner City Press

Counsel: Why did you only consider Twitter and Truth Social? Humphreys: Twitter is very transparent... I considered 13 tweets.  Remember, not all of your followers see all of your tweets.  And some are bots. I took those out - about 12% of followers

Humphreys: Truth Social is structurally similar to Twitter, but it hasn't been studied as much. And you don't transparently have re-Tweet [re-Truth] information.  I figured the same percentages. The statement, it was only MSNBC and Fox.  7 million impressions

 Humphreys: I studied portrayals of Ms. Carroll before the Trump stories. She was considered a sassy advice columnist about relationships... Then, words like "lair etcetera"...

 Humphreys: I calculated how much it would cost to run counter messages, on cable TV there are rates, also for influencers and micro-influencers. It's called reputation repair, with corrective messaging. Counsel: How much would it cost? Humphreys: On TV, $133,000

 Counsel: And on all platforms, added? Humphreys: It was $2.7 million. Counsel: No further questions. Judge Kaplan: Let's take our break, 15 minutes. Feed will continue - now to other cases. 

They're back. Before the jury comes in: Carroll's counsel: We have an evidentiary issue - we want to introduce a paragraph from Mr. Trump's book, think like a billionaire. Judge Kaplan: What's the problem, Mr. Tacopina? Tacopina: There was a co-author.

Judge Kaplan: We can deal with that later. Bring in the jury.... Cross examination. Trump's lawyer: Professor Humphreys you were paid to study the impact of Mr. Trump's statements? Judge Kaplan: Can we avoid the obvious?

 Trump's lawyer: Is there harm from false accusations of rape? Carroll's lawyer: Objection! Judge Kaplan: Sustained. Trump's lawyer: What about Ms. Carroll's appearances on podcasts? Humphreys: No.

Trump's lawyer: Fair to say that those on Truth Social mostly support Mr. Trump? Humphreys: That's likely true. Trump's lawyer: You didn't consider positive statements about Ms. Carroll? Humphreys: I saw them, but they didn't require correction

Trump's lawyer: Did you consider Ms. Carroll's book and excerpt in The Cut - Carroll's lawyer: Objection. Asked and answered. Judge Kaplan: Sustained. Trump's lawyer Brandt: No further questions

Judge Kaplan: Next witness. Jurors, we may go past 4:30 pm. Any problem, raise your hand. No hands raised. Witness is Roberta Myers, former Elle editor. Carroll's counsel: When were you an editor at Elle? Myers: 1993 to 1995. I also worked for NBC, Seventeen

 Counsel: How do you know Ms. Carroll:  Myers: We worked together.  Counsel: Have you met the defendant, Donald Trump?

Myers: I was on an episode of the Apprentice. Counsel: Did you support him in 2016 or 2020? Myers: No. I'm a Democrat. Cross examination.  Trump's lawyer: How did you leave Elle? Myers: Not voluntarily.  No re-direct. Judge Kaplan: I'm assuming there are no more witnesses... Let me see counsel at sidebar.

Judge Kaplan returns and says, I am ruling "in the event Mr. Trump for whatever reason testifies in this case." Could / would he get back from the UK by Monday, before closing arguments? He seemed to say he might

 Jury entering! Judge Kaplan: Any evidence by the plaintiff? Carroll's lawyer: Yes, we have a stipulation,  that "plaintiff E. Jean Carroll produced diaries, including entries that she was distraught by political developments, a death, and that she hit her back"

Carroll's counsel: Plaintiff rests her case. Judge Kaplan: We will almost certain reconvene Monday at 10. But we need contact information on how to let you know if things change.

Judge Kaplan: You each call in after 10 pm on Sunday. Until you hear different, we'll see you 10 am Monday. Thank you and have a great weekend.  Jury leaves. Judge Kaplan: Any motions? Tacopina: We move for a judgment as a matter of law. Judge Kaplan: Denied.

 Tacopina: We rest out rest. Judge Kaplan: So Mr. Trump waives his right to testify? Tacopina: He does. Judge Kaplan: How recently have you spoken with him? Tacopina: A few minutes before I came into court this morning.

 Judge Kaplan: I am committed to allowing parties to make their case. I will allow Mr. Trump up to 10 pm Sunday to make a motion to testify - I'm not saying I'll grant it, but I'll consider it and we'll see what happens. 10 pm Sunday, that's it. Tell Mr. Trump

 Tacopina: I could do 10 am Sunday. Judge Kaplan: Let's do 5 pm Sunday. There have been news reports out of the British Isles attributed to Mr. Trump about his possible testifying here. So I've taken precautions.  Tacopino: I propose 2 hours each side.

 Carroll's counsel: We need 2 hours and 45 minutes. Judge Kaplan: Two hours each? Carroll's counsel: I'm negotiating against myself, but two and a half would be OK.  Judge Kaplan: Let me get out my slider rule. I don't want to show my age or anything.

 Tacopina: Plaintiff 10 to noon. Defense from 1 to 3:30.  Judge Kaplan: That'd work unless we have a media event outside. [There is laughter.] Tacopina: Ed Sheeran is gone. [More laughter]

Judge Kaplan: Who won?

Tacopina: Ed Sheeran. Roberta Kaplan: As to the media request, if the email addresses are taken out, we have no problem.

Judge Kaplan: I want the media to understand, either do I, as long as emails out - I mean, addresses - but my whole staff is here. So, work it out.

 Tacopina: What about the charging conference? Judge Kaplan: I am to know if I am calling the jury off at 10 am Monday. Tacopina: Why would you?

Judge Kaplan: If there is a motion made. You say you don't want and I believe in your heart of hearts you don't, but... Tacopina: So, draft charge 8 am, and we come in 9 am [Monday] Judge Kaplan: Have a good weekend. Leaves.

As noted, in the middle Inner City Press filed a request to unseal not only motions but also all exhibits in the case including video depositions. Request here. Citing Inner City Press' request, Judge Kaplan called for a response by Saturday. Carroll's counsel said other than email addresses they don't have a problem. So when will we get them? Watch this site.

Closings are still set for May 8.

More on Substack here. Watch this site.

                        and Judge Kaplan in Carrol v Trump courtesy
                        Elizabeth Wiliams

Court art: Tacopina and Judge Kaplan, courtesy to Inner City Press from Elizabeth Williams


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