Last week, Donald Trump was beaten up in court.
No, not in Atlanta or DC, although that has happened too. This happened in New York, where Judge Lewis Kaplan summarily dismissed Trump’s request to delay the second defamation trial against E. Jean Carroll on the grounds that a pending preliminary appeal raises “important and emerging questions regarding the doctrine of presidential immunity and the doctrine of of the separation of powers” and the interaction between the executive and the judiciary.”
The problem is Trump’s claim of “absolute immunity” for all statements he made as president, including his defamatory remarks about Carroll in 2019. It’s a galactic pipe dream, which is why it took his lawyers perhaps more than three years to come to terms finally to come in December 2022 to be finished with it.
Of course, the plaintiff argued that this delay constituted a waiver, but the defense had an answer for that too: Presidential immunity is in place indispensableand can therefore be increased at any time. And no, they will not I will answer questions and even less cite the case law that supports this position.
The court has repeatedly rejected this argument, holding that (1) there is no absolute presidential immunity; and (2) even that was it a thingTrump gave up on that a long time ago. But after appealing to the Second Circuit, Trump is now demanding that the court stay the case, which is scheduled to hear on January 2, 2024.
Not surprisingly, Judge Kaplan, who previously described Trump’s trial tactics as hesitant and bad faith, disagrees.
“This case largely stalled for years, in large part due to Mr Trump’s repeated attempts at delay,” he wrote. “Mr. Trump’s most recent request to remain – his fourth request of this nature – is another such attempt to unduly delay the resolution of this matter.”
Judge Kaplan saw little chance of success in the second Circuit Court of Appeals, noting that any harm to Trump from allowing this case during the appeal hearing was due to the defendant’s own failure to raise the matter in a timely manner. In contrast, Carroll, who is nearly 80 and has been trying to enforce her claims for nearly four years, will suffer significant harm if her claims are delayed any further.
Furthermore, Trump’s “mere assertion that the issues raised by his immunity defense are ‘important and new,’ without demonstrating that those issues have any merit, is clearly irrelevant to the question of where the public interest lies.”
Most importantly, Judge Kaplan called the appeal frivolous, not only embarrassing Trump’s attorneys Alina Habba and Michael Madaio, but also negating Trump’s claim that he evaded the court’s jurisdiction.
Citing several federal cases in New York and a 1996 Supreme Court decision, the court writes:
Even if an interlocutory appeal against a denial of the defense of immunity might otherwise strip a district court of jurisdiction, “courts that have examined this issue have consistently applied the ‘dual jurisdiction rule’.” . , stating that “the filing of an appeal under the Collateral Order doctrine regarding the right not to be tried removes jurisdiction from the district court to proceed with the proceeding (against the appealee) unless the district court certifies that the appeal is frivolous.”
Carroll v. Trump I (Court Listener File)
Carroll v Trump II (Court Listener file)
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore, where she writes about law and politics and appears on the podcast Opening Arguments.