A COVID scare and the New Hampshire primary nearly foiled Trump's plans to testify in E. Jean Carroll trial

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  • Donald Trump intends to testify in E. Jean Carroll's defamation trial against him, his lawyer said.

  • The trial was delayed Monday for a juror COVID-19 scare — and Tuesday is the New Hampshire primary.

  • The trial will now also be paused Tuesday, allowing Trump to have his primary and testify, too.

Donald Trump will have a chance to testify in his own defense in E. Jean Carroll's defamation trial this week after his own campaign schedule nearly got in the way.

After initially holding Trump, Carroll, and their legal teams in suspense Monday, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed to adjourn the trial until Wednesday morning.

The delay allows the former president to spend Tuesday campaigning in New Hampshire without worrying about missing the chance to offer critical testimony to jurors, who will decide how much money he must give Carroll for defaming her.

The former president flew to New York in the wee hours of Monday morning and rolled into Kaplan's Manhattan courtroom at around 9 a.m., ready to take the witness stand in the case.

Then juror No. 3 called out sick — possibly with COVID-19.

And Tuesday? Well, that's the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary — and Trump made clear through his defense team Monday that he planned on being there.

That chain of events — a juror falling ill and the New Hampshire primary coming Tuesday — nearly conspired to keep Trump off the witness stand entirely.

Trump's myriad legal problems, which include four criminal cases and even more civil ones, were widely anticipated to cause a traffic jam in his race to reclaim the presidency.

The opposite is also happening as his campaign schedule pushes into his court calendar.

"My client just reminded me — I was in trial mode — he needs to be in New Hampshire," Alina Habba, the lead attorney representing Trump in the case, said in court Monday morning after saying that, like the juror, she too had been feeling a bit feverish.

"I would just need for his testimony to be Wednesday," Habba told Kaplan.

In court Monday morning, the judge, who has shown little patience for delay or rule-bending by Trump and his defense team, initially reserved the decision to postpone the trial any further pending the next update on who among the jurors and parties may have tested positive.

If Kaplan had decided to barrel forward with the trial on Tuesday, it would have likely closed the window of opportunity for Trump to testify.

But shortly before 5 p.m., the judge posted an update to the court docket saying the trial would skip a day on Tuesday after all. Kaplan selected nine jurors to sit on the panel for the civil trial without any alternate jurors.

The judge's announcement that a juror had coronavirus symptoms came first thing in proceedings Monday just after 10 a.m., when Trump and Carroll had taken their seats but before jurors had taken theirs.

"Juror No. 3 was on his way to the city," the judge told the room. But while en route, he added, the juror found he was "feeling hot and nauseous."

The juror was instructed to go home, take a COVID-19 test, and tell the court whether he tested positive. Habba said she didn't want the trial to keep going without him.

Just two non-Trump witnesses have yet to be heard in the case: the former Elle editor Robbie Myers for Carroll's side and the journalist Carol Martin for the defense. Those two witnesses are expected to take less than a day.

Carroll's lawyers argue that Trump caused her harm when he defamed her by calling her a liar when she accused him of sexual abuse from the 1990s, which damaged her reputation as a truth-telling advice columnist.

On Truth Social, Trump used Monday's delay to tell his followers yet again that he knew "absolutely nothing about" Carroll, even though a jury found last year that he sexually abused her. He also complained the trial was taking place in the thick of election season, even though it was his own lawyers who fought for years to delay the case.

"They could have all began years ago, or years after, but, certainly not DURING the Election," he wrote. "In actuality, they should have never been brought at all, because I have done nothing wrong."

Before sending everyone home Monday morning, the judge also ruled on Habba's motion for a mistrial in the case over Carroll deleting death-threat emails.

"Denied in all respects," Kaplan said.

This story has been updated with the court's announcement Monday night that the Carroll trial will resume on Wednesday.

Read the original article on Business Insider