Trump Lawyers Plan Appeal Strategy After Judgment
Former President Donald Trump’s legal team is planning to use an “insane” and previously undisclosed conflict of interest between E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan and the judge overseeing her defamation case against Trump as the basis for their appeal.
The revelation came to light on Saturday when Post columnist Charles Gasparino was informed of the connection between Judge Lewis Kaplan and Roberta Kaplan, who worked together at the same law firm in the early 1990s. Trump lawyer Alina Habba, who was unaware of the conflict of interest, called it a violation of judicial ethics.
The conflict of interest stems from the fact that Judge Kaplan, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Bill Clinton in 1994, and Roberta Kaplan were both employed at the law firm Paul, Weiss Rifkin, Wharton & Garrison. Roberta Kaplan, who was an associate at the firm from 1992 to 2016, left to become a founding partner of Kaplan Hecker & Fink. During her time at Paul Weiss, she crossed paths with Judge Kaplan, who was a senior partner at the same firm. This connection was not disclosed by either Kaplan or Judge Kaplan during the Carroll defamation trial.
Trump lawyer Alina Habba expressed shock at the news and stated that the conflict of interest would be included in their appeal and appropriate measures would be taken. She also noted that the lack of disclosure is a violation of ethics rules. A spokesperson for Roberta Kaplan has since stated that there is no conflict of interest and that she did not work for Judge Kaplan during their time at Paul Weiss. However, a former partner at the firm has claimed that Roberta Kaplan viewed Judge Kaplan as a mentor during her time there.
NEW: E. Jean Carroll’s lawyers visibly uncomfortable as she boasts about what she is going to spend all her money on.
This does not look like a r*pe victim.
“First thing, Rachel, you and I are gonna go shopping. We're gonna get completely new wardrobes, new shoes, motorcycle.”… pic.twitter.com/CFlDxR4PEA
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) January 30, 2024
On Friday, Judge Kaplan oversaw the staggering $83.3 million judgment awarded to Carroll in Manhattan federal court by a jury of five men and four women. The jury found Trump liable for slandering Carroll in 2019 when he dismissed her sexual assault claims as a “hoax” and called her a “whack job.” Many legal experts have questioned the size of the award, as it is unclear how much monetary damage Trump caused Carroll. Trump has since vowed to appeal both decisions, calling them “absolutely ridiculous” and claiming that they are part of a “Biden-directed witch hunt.”
The news of the conflict of interest has sparked outrage among Trump supporters, who see it as yet another example of bias against the former president. Some see it as a deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of the trial and paint Trump in a negative light.
Others believe that this revelation calls into question the entire trial and undermines the credibility of the verdict. However, others have pointed out that the connection between Judge Kaplan and Roberta Kaplan does not necessarily imply bias or collusion, and that the judge may have been unaware of their previous connection.
The conflict of interest has also raised concerns about judicial ethics and the importance of full disclosure in legal proceedings. Legal experts have highlighted the need for judges to disclose any potential conflicts to maintain impartiality and fairness in the courtroom. In light of this incident, some have called for stricter guidelines and penalties for judges who fail to disclose conflicts of interest.
The American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct states that “a judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” which includes disclosing any past relationships with lawyers or parties involved in the case.
It remains to be seen how the revelation of the conflict of interest will impact the outcome of the trial or the judgment awarded to Carroll. But one thing is certain – the issue has sparked a larger conversation about ethics and the importance of transparency in the legal system. It also serves as a reminder that no matter the outcome of the appeal, the controversy surrounding the case is far from over.