“You will not quarrel with me”: Judge slaps down Trump’s lawyer, warns “there may be consequences”

The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s defamation trial gave another warning to the former president’s lawyer, Alina Habba, as she began closing arguments in the case Friday. The rebuke came just hours after U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan threatened Trump’s counsel with jail time, according to The Messenger.

Kaplan previously prohibited Trump and his legal team from denying that the former president raped or defamed former columnist E. Jean Carroll, who was awarded $5 million in damages in by a jury in a separate case pertaining to those matters. Habba, however, started her closing arguments violating that rule by defending Trump’s years of denials.

“You know why he has not wavered — because it’s the truth,” Habba said, garnering an objection from Carroll’s lawyer that Kaplan sustained. In another instance, when the Trump attorney, who arrived late to Friday’s proceedings, inched close to breaking the rule, Kaplan warned: “If you violate my instructions again, Ms. Habba, there may be consequences.”

Habba went on to minimize the onslaught of threatening messages Carroll said she received as a result of Trump’s denials. “Ladies and gentlemen, I received three this week alone. That’s me on a good day,” Habba said, a statement the judge also struck.

Kaplan reminded jurors that “it is established” that the former president sexually abused and defamed Carroll, making clear she was not lying, according to The Messenger. “It is established by a jury,” Habba responded, to which the judge shot back, “It is established and you will not quarrel with me. You will finish your statement.”

Earlier Friday, prior to the jury’s arrival in the courtroom, Kaplan warned Habba that she could face incarceration if she continued to protest his orders after he ruled. 

“You are on the verge of spending some time in the lockup,” the judge said. “Sit down.”


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