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Trump loses last-ditch appeals court bid to delay E. Jean Carroll rape defamation civil trial

Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, on Dec. 19, 2023.
Scott Olson | Getty Images

A New York federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a last-ditch effort by Donald Trump to delay his upcoming civil trial for defaming E. Jean Carroll after the writer accused the former president of raping her decades ago.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court accepts Trump’s appeal, he is expected to begin trial in the case on Jan. 16 in Manhattan federal district court solely on the question of how much to pay Carroll in monetary damages. The judge in the case, Lewis Kaplan, previously ruled that Trump’s statements in 2019 were defamatory.

Kaplan ruled last year that Trump did not have presidential immunity from Carroll’s suit despite serving in the White House at the time that he alleged she had concocted her rape claim when she went public with it in 2019.

Trump appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Writer E. Jean Carroll leaves a Manhattan courthouse after a jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, in New York City on May 9, 2023.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

In mid-December, a three-judge panel on that appeals court ruled that Trump had waived his potential defense of presidential immunity by failing to raise that claim for several years after Carroll sued him.

Trump then filed a motion asking for a rehearing of his appeal and also asked the full array of judges on the appeals circuit to hear it in a so-called en banc proceeding.

On Wednesday, the 2nd Circuit denied Trump’s requests without explanation, as is standard procedure.

Trump can now ask the Supreme Court to hear his appeal, but there is no guarantee that court would take the case.

CNBC has requested comment from lawyers for Trump and Carroll.

Trump separately is arguing he has presidential immunity from prosecution in federal court in Washington, D.C., on criminal charges related to his effort to reverse his loss in the 2020 presidential election. The federal appeals court in D.C. is considering that argument.

Carroll alleges that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a New York department store in the mid-1990s after a chance encounter there. He denies her claim.

Last year, a jury in Manhattan federal court found Trump civilly liable for sexually abusing Carroll in the incident, and for defaming her in 2022 when he again denied her allegation.

Trump was ordered to pay Carroll $5 million in damages in that case. He is appealing the verdict and the damage award.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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