Following the controversial incident in which Alina Habba, the attorney for Donald Trump, was spotted socializing with her client in New Hampshire despite earlier claiming to have a fever, anticipation mounted for potential repercussions in the courtroom. However, if there was any official rebuke, it remained behind closed doors.
On the appointed day, Trump arrived at the courthouse punctually at 10 a.m., albeit the proceedings were originally slated to commence at 9:30. Both legal teams were present, and Judge Lewis Kaplan, who entered the courtroom a mere three minutes before 10, had already extended greetings to the jury before the defendant’s arrival.
When Trump eventually took his place at the table, the judge made a formal note of this for the record.
The questioning phase was initiated with testimony from one of E. Jean Carroll’s former bosses during her tenure at Elle Magazine. This testimony shed light on Carroll’s professional integrity as a journalist.
It’s worth noting that a prior trial had already found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll. The present trial revolves around separate defamatory comments made by Trump regarding the same incident, with the jury tasked with determining the appropriate damages.
Robbie Myers, the Editor-in-Chief of Elle Magazine, took the witness stand and briefly responded to inquiries from Carroll’s lawyer before Alina Habba conducted her cross-examination.
As revealed in a rough transcript provided by Josh Russell at Courthouse News and Matthew Russell Lee for Inner City Press, tensions between Habba and the judge surfaced less than an hour into the proceedings. Habba’s line of questioning touched on matters that could be considered “gossip,” falling under the category of inadmissible “hearsay” as per court rules.
She went on to question what it meant to be a legitimate journalist.
“So that’s being a fact-checking journalist?” she asked.
Carroll’s lawyer objected, and the judge sustained it.
“So, what —” Habba began before being shut down by the judge.
“I have ruled. Move on,” Kaplan told her.
“No more questions,” Habba replied, sitting down.