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Trump given until Sunday morning to change his mind about possible surprise testimony in E. Jean Carroll case

E. Jean Carroll arrives at Manhattan federal court for her rape-defamation trial against Donald Trump.E. Jean Carroll arrives at federal court in Manhattan with attorney Roberta Kaplan for her rape-defamation trial against Donald Trump.

John Minchillo/AP

  • Donald Trump told reporters in Ireland that he’ll ‘probably’ attend his Manhattan civil rape trial.
  • Trump’s lawyer says he won’t attend or testify, and rested Thursday without presenting a case.
  • A judge has given Trump until Sunday morning to change his mind and decide to take the stand.

A federal judge in Manhattan has given Donald Trump until Sunday morning to decide, once and for all, if he’ll give what would be surprise testimony in his own defense against writer E. Jean Carroll’s claims that he raped and defamed her.

The decision deadline was set late Thursday by US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan after Trump’s lead lawyer, Joe Tacopina, rested the defense case as promised without presenting a single witness.

Trump won’t be coming to court to testify, Tacopina told the judge.

“You’re representing to me that he has personally, after consulting with you, voluntarily waived his right to testify?” the judge responded. 

“Yes, your honor,” Tacopina answered. 

“How recently did you speak?” the judge pursued.

“A few minutes before I came into court this morning,” Tacopina answered.

But the judge said he was unwilling to close the door entirely on Trump’s chance to take the stand. He’ll allow Trump until 10 p.m. Sunday to make a motion changing his mind about remaining silent, he said. 

“I’m not saying I will grant that motion,” he told the defense.

“I’m saying I’ll consider it. If he has second thoughts, I’ll consider it,” the judge said. “If no such motion is filed by 10 p.m. Sunday, that ship has irrevocably sailed.”

At that point, Carroll’s lead lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, noted that a motion filed at 10 p.m. would leave not a lot of time to respond. How about 10 a.m. Sunday, instead? 

“I’m good with 5:09 p.m. Thursday, if you like,” Tacopina quipped in response, checking his watch to cite the current time.

Still, the judge said he wanted to give Trump that chance to think things over, particularly given news accounts earlier Thursday from Ireland, where Trump had decided to play golf rather than attend either the Carroll trial or a hearing on his hush-money prosecution up the block in state court.

“I will probably attend,” Trump had told Irish reporters while playing golf at the Doonbeg resort in County Clare, according to the local publication RTE.

“And I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump told reporters, “that it’s allowed to happen, false accusations against a rich guy, or in my case against a famous, rich and political person.”

“There have been news reports out of the British Isles all day, attributed to Mr. Trump, with regards to his presence here,” the judge said, in pressing for Trump getting that “second chance” to decide to take the stand.

“I have taken this precaution in light of those statements,” the judge said.

The parties agreed that 10 a.m. on Sunday would be the deadline.

The trial is off on Fridays. Should Trump continue to steer clear of testifying, jurors will hear closing arguments on Monday. They would then receive their instructions on the law Tuesday morning, and then begin deliberations.

Trump has not attended a day of the trial, and jurors have only heard him defend himself in a video deposition played on courtroom screens.

“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story,” Trump says in the deposition of Carroll’s claim that he raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-90s, then called her a liar after she came forward in 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider