Will Trump Attend His Rape Trial? Judge Wants to Know

Former President Donald Trump may find himself in court again. A columnist accused Trump of rape in a department store dressing room in the 1990s. 

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan had told attorneys to notify him if all parties will be present in the courtroom when the trial begins on April 25 in Manhattan. 

The judge refused to release the names of jurors to attorneys because Trump’s recent statements about his current New York criminal case might put the jurors in jeopardy if their names were released to the public. 

The accusing party, Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carol, brought suit against Trump for an alleged rape at a Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1996 after an accidental meeting. Trump has strongly denied the charge, and his public comments about the alleged rape will likely be used against him by the prosecution. 

Carol’s claims immediately follow a temporary state law that permits adult rape victims to sue regardless of the date of the abuse. 

In May 2022, New York State revised the time limit for victims of a sexual attack to bring action against a perpetrator. This temporary change mirrors a similar act protecting child victims. Proponents of the act said it failed to protect adults. 

Trump’s accuser is taking advantage of a temporary one-year window to bring a lawsuit that would otherwise have been outdated by the statute of limitations.

Trump has requested a delay in the April 25 trial based on the high level of prejudiced notoriety surrounding him from his recent appearance in New York for charges leveled by Alvin Bragg. 

The consensus among Trump supporters is that getting a fair trial anywhere in New York is virtually impossible. Finding an unbiased jury in a city that voted 87 percent for Joe Biden is suspect. 

Having two trials in the same city at the same time and expecting fair and impartial treatment along with the media coverage any Trump trial will attract, and that Trump will somehow prevail, is unlikely.