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Trump Will Be Haunted by E. Jean Carroll in Hush-Money Trial

The Manhattan district attorney wants to cite Carroll’s defamation lawsuits to impeach Trump’s credibility.

E. Jean Carroll smiles and waves a hand
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s long legal record is very likely going to bite him in his New York hush-money trial.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office filed its Sandoval notice in the case on Wednesday, revealing that it intends to leverage some of Trump’s past legal troubles as evidence of his poor credibility. According to the document, those cases include the New York civil fraud trial in which Trump was ordered to pay nearly half a billion dollars to the state, and the defamation trials brought against him by E. Jean Carroll, who won a payout of $83.3 million.

In addition to those cases, the Sandoval notice also cites the 2023 lawsuit Trump brought against his former 2016 opponent for the presidency, Hillary Clinton. The court in that case fined Trump nearly a million dollars for bringing a “completely frivolous” lawsuit to court “for improper purposes” and found that Trump had repeatedly used the courts to “seek revenge on political adversaries.”

“He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer,” the court wrote in its 2023 determination. “He knew full well the impact of his actions.”

Bragg, noting that the cases had already been cited in a February 22 motion, wrote that “the People hereby give notice that we intend to use the acts identified in those motions to impeach the credibility of the defendant.”

Judge Juan Merchan can trim down the list, deeming some of the cases Bragg wants to cite inadmissible. It is not yet clear when Merchan will issue his final decision.

Trump is accused of using former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Ron DeSantis Suddenly Pretends He Hates the Thing He Loves the Most

The Florida governor is trying to backtrack on some of his signature legislation.

Ron DeSantis holds his hand to his chest as he speaks into a microphone
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is backtracking on his statewide book restrictions, signing a bill that will limit how—and who—can propose limits on local reading.

The new law, signed Tuesday, will give non-district residents just one opportunity per month to challenge a book they’d like to restrict access to. According to a February press release, some of the many objections made over the past year were submitted by individuals “who don’t have children learning in Florida.”

According to DeSantis’s office, the new legislation “protects schools from activists trying to politicize and disrupt a district’s book review process.” That includes texts such as Johnny Appleseed, The Giver, and the Bible, all of which DeSantis’s office has previously cited as targets.

“I think what’s happened though, is you have some people who are taking the curriculum transparency, and they’re trying to weaponize that for political purposes,” DeSantis said during a press conference.

Actual residents will, however, retain unlimited opportunities to propose book bans. Local organizations attempting to combat the statewide book restrictions noted that the law is but a paltry gain for book access.

“The point is, HB 1285 is not ‘mission accomplished’ on stopping the needless censorship happening in FL schools, but it might slow it in certain areas,” posted the Florida Freedom to Read Project on X. “So for that, thanks for this small amendment to 1006.28. Let’s tackle this again in 2025.”

Despite repeatedly insisting that his state’s education restrictions don’t amount to a “book ban,” DeSantis has undoubtedly wielded a heavy hand in rewriting Florida’s educational code. In the last few years, DeSantis has banned classroom discussion of gender and sexuality, gutted DEI programs within the state, and, of course, allowed unlimited challenges to which reading texts can be accessed by Florida students.

Just Wednesday, the Florida governor was hard at work in another sphere of education, signing a bill requiring state educators to teach students about the “dangers and evils of Communism.” The legislation will “prepare” students to “withstand indoctrination on Communism at colleges and universities,” and proposes the creation of a museum that covers the “history of communism,” according to a release by DeSantis’s office.

Many of the books targeted under DeSantis’s signature 2022 legislation deal with topics such as race, gender, and sexuality, but others should be far less controversial. Some of the challenges have been over cartoon illustrations of naked goblin butts and even the dictionary.

Jamie Raskin Went Up Against James Comer. Guess Who Came Out Ahead?

A House hearing was derailed when Raskin and Comer couldn’t stop sniping at each other.

Jamie Raskin and James Comer sit next to each other
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday quickly devolved into leading Representatives James Comer and Jamie Raskin arguing over Joe Biden’s (nonexistent) crimes.

Although the hearing was on China’s political warfare against the United States, it wasn’t long before Comer managed to shift the topic to his pet project: trying to impeach Biden. Things started to go off the rails when Comer repeated a long-discredited claim that Biden was bribed by China, an allegation that came from shady witness Tony Bobulinski. Raskin called out Comer for repeating the claim without actually moving forward on impeaching Biden.

With no trace of irony, Comer then accused Raskin and his fellow Democrats of being obsessed with Russia and Donald Trump, ignoring his own fixation with Joe Biden. He mentioned that Raskin might “need therapy.” The two argued back and forth, talking over each other until Comer resorted to pounding his gavel. Raskin, for his part, slammed Comer for failing to find a high crime or misdemeanor committed by the president.

“What is the crime that you want to impeach Joe Biden for and keep this nonsense going? Why? What is the crime? Tell America right now,” Raskin demanded at one point.

Speaking over Raskin, Comer said, “You’re about to find out very soon,” despite having witnesses repeatedly contradict and debunk Republican claims.

Raskin also called out Comer for wasting money on the investigation, which Comer denied, despite the fact that it has stretched on for months.

This isn’t the first time that Raskin, the ranking member on the committee, has torched the GOP’s Biden impeachment attempt. Only two weeks ago, he called it a “foreign disinformation” campaign without a basis in facts.

House Republican Delays Departure to Screw Over His Own Party

Representative Mike Gallagher is staying an extra few days to help with a foreign aid package.

Mike Gallagher sits at a table
Michael A. McCoy/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Representative Mike Gallagher

Representative Mike Gallagher’s last day in Congress was supposed to be Friday, but some wavering votes on upcoming legislation might delay his exit.

The Wisconsin Republican confirmed Wednesday that he would be sticking around for an “extra day or so” to help push through Speaker Mike Johnson’s foreign aid package for Taiwan, Israel, and Ukraine, according to CNBC’s Emily Wilkins.

“His office says he has the flexibility,” Wilkins wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Gallagher’s decision to stay may help offset a growing number of Republicans who appear upset about a series of forthcoming bills, which include the foreign aid package, a border security bill that will include “core components” of the GOP’s border security proposal known as H.R. 2, an amendment process on the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act, and Gallagher’s TikTok ban.

One of those uncertain Republicans is South Carolina Representative Ralph Norman, who reversed his stance on the supplementary aid package on Tuesday after supporting it for the better part of the last week, telling Politico’s Jordain Carney that he wasn’t sure he’d vote in support of it in the Rules Committee anymore.

“I don’t know. This is very upsetting. And I don’t understand it,” Norman told Carney.

And Gallagher’s delayed leave will push back a proposal by Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene to strip Johnson of the gavel over his support for Ukraine, an effort that received a small boost of support on Tuesday after Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie announced he was also sick of Johnson. That effort needs just one more conservative defector in order to oust the speaker—or it could move forward with just the two of them, if it takes place after Gallagher’s exit.

When the Wisconsin lawmaker announced his leave in March, he chose the original exit date of April 19 with apparent disregard for how his caucus might replace him. That date was already too late to host a special election to refill his seat and help Republicans keep their razor-thin majority. The new date of departure, which seems to be foggy, won’t make that process any easier.

Kari Lake Has a Terrifying Prediction Ahead of the 2024 Election

The Republican Senate candidate warned that the next six months will be intense.

Kari Lake talks
Alex Wong/Getty Images

One of Donald Trump’s favorite acolytes, Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake, wants MAGA to be strapped in time for the elections coming up in November.

“We are going to put on the armor of God. Then maybe strap on a Glock,” Lake said to cheers at a rally Sunday.

“You can put one here,” she continued, touching her right hip. “And one in the back, or one in the front, whatever. You guys decide.”

The apparent call to violence comes alongside Senator Tom Cotton’s post on X (formerly Twitter) Tuesday, in which he suggested that peaceful protesters who block traffic should be removed with physical violence. The rhetoric hints at possible violent reactions to the election results, whether they turn out good or bad for MAGA Republicans. Trump himself has warned that “it’s gonna be a bloodbath” if he loses in November (he later claimed he was talking about the automotive industry) and said that 2024 could be the “last election we ever have.”

The memory of the January 6 attack now looms large over every election in the United States, and right-wing figures are making no attempt to calm the mood. The fact that Trump’s trial over the insurrection has been held up by the Supreme Court also sends the message that encouraging violence carries little, if any, real consequences.

Lake is running to fill the seat vacated by the quixotic Kyrsten Sinema, who resigned from the Senate in March. Lake herself lost the race for Arizona governor in 2020 after running a hyperbolic, fearmongering campaign focused on voter fraud and the “Big Lie,” and refused to concede afterward. This time, Lake is up to her old tricks and has even been accused of blackmail by other Arizona Republicans.

But polls have her running behind Democrat Ruben Gallego in the Senate race, and the news that the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a 160-year-old law banning nearly all abortions in the state won’t help Lake’s cause. As a result, she’s desperately flip-flopping on abortion, even trying to run away from her previous stance.

Read about Republicans calling for political violence:

Trump Hush-Money Jurors Receive Chilling Warning From Legal Expert

Potential jurors are being kept anonymous for a reason.

Donald Trump smiles as he sits at a table with his hands folded
Curtis Means/Pool/Getty Images

The jurors in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial are anonymous, with their names only shared among the trial’s judge and prosecution and defense teams. But some legal experts are still concerned about their safety.

Former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori warned Tuesday that the onslaught of available information about the forthcoming jury—which included a Washington Post reporter outing one potential juror’s profession and identifying the businesses where they work—might be too much to keep them safe during the first criminal trial of a former president in U.S. history.

“What’s going through the minds of these jurors right now?” prompted CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.

“I have some thoughts about the jury’s position here,” replied Khardori. “First of all, I imagine it’s somewhat surreal, right? To be selected. I am wondering if some of them are a little unhappy with the amount of information that is being made public about them.”

But Khardori doesn’t blame the press for their role in amplifying the sensitive details. Instead, he blames the gatekeepers of the information, the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office and Judge Juan Merchan, for failing to safeguard it.

“Now, this is not the fault of the media. I wanna be very clear about this,” he continued. “Responsibility to guard all of the very specific information that we’re learning resides with the D.A.’s office and with the judge.”

“I’m a little surprised that we are learning all of this because I do not think this jury is gonna remain anonymous necessarily if they keep this up,” Khardori said.

“You’re worried about their safety?” asked Blitzer.

“Yeah, I’m worried about their safety,” Khardori said. “I mean, it’s up to them if they want to write a book after all this is said and done, but that’s their option. They shouldn’t be outed this way. They’re not supposed to be outed this way.”

There’s a reason that the potential jurists’ identities are supposed to be so carefully guarded. When Trump and 18 of his allies were indicted in Georgia, the people on the grand jury were kept anonymous. But when their names and other personal, identifying information about them began circulating on the internet, a wave of threats quickly crashed on top of them.

That prompted Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over E. Jean Carroll’s defamation trial against Trump, to take extraordinary measures to help the jurists maintain their anonymity, including keeping them not just anonymous but also partially sequestered.

“My advice to you is that you never disclose that you were on this jury,” Kaplan warned them after the trial ended in January.

Alina Habba Has a Mind-Boggling Defense for Trump Napping in Court

The former president is just a busy guy, OK?

Alina Habba speaks into microphones
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Why did Donald Trump fall asleep during his hush-money trial? His lawyer, Alina Habba, has quite the excuse: “He reads a lot.”

Trump has been dogged by reports that he has dozed off in court both days so far of his hush-money trial. Habba defended him in an interview on Newsmax Tuesday evening.

“I wasn’t there. I find that a remarkable story, at best. President Trump, he reads a lot,” she said. “He’s been sitting there, as he’s forced to, at the threat of going to jail if he’s not sitting there, for what I assume would be a very mundane day.

“Look, I wasn’t there, so I can’t comment on that,” Habba continued. ”I find that to be a ridiculous thought, though.”

Habba’s presence in court notwithstanding, what we know about Trump’s reading habits calls her words into question. When he was in the White House, memos and policy papers were kept to a single page, with plenty of graphics and maps to hold his attention, according to accounts from back then. His name was included multiple times in briefing documents so he wouldn’t lose interest while reading them.

In fact, even in his younger days, Trump didn’t seem to read much and was even caught in a lie when asked about his favorite book in a 1987 interview on CNN. The one thing he is credited with avidly reading? Clippings of print media.

“I call the president the two-minute man,” one source close to Trump told The Washington Post in 2017. “The president has patience for a half-page.”

Of course, Habba has always staunchly defended Trump to the press regardless of the latest reports, even comparing him to Nelson Mandela on Tuesday. She may need to brush up on her legal expertise, though, as she thinks Trump being legally required to attend every day of his criminal trial is a violation of “due process.”

Alan Dershowitz Invents a Wild New Constitutional Right Just for Trump

Apparently, “witness intimidation” is in the Constitution.

Alan Dershowitz purses his lips as he stands in front of the Capitol
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

One of Donald Trump’s former attorneys advocated for the removal of the court-induced gag order on the GOP presidential nominee in his hush-money trial, arguing that it’s actually completely within Trump’s rights to intimidate witnesses and family members of court staff.

Appearing on Fox News on Tuesday, constitutional attorney Alan Dershowitz claimed that Trump shouldn’t be prevented from lobbing threats and insults at the adult film actress he allegedly paid off ahead of the 2016 election, or presiding Judge Juan Merchan’s  daughter, who runs a political campaign firm that has worked with Democrats.

“The gag order is unconstitutional,” Dershowitz said. “You cannot prevent a defendant from attacking the witnesses, from attacking the judge’s daughter if the judge’s daughter could be a basis for disqualification.”

Merchan, meanwhile, has already refused to recuse himself, arguing that his daughter’s work holds no bearing on his own—which is exactly what a judicial ethics commission concluded last year.

“There’s no agenda here,” Merchan told the Associated Press in March. “We want to follow the law. We want justice to be done.”

The partial gag order—which Trump and his current staff of lawyers have repeatedly condemned—formally forbids Trump from speaking publicly about courtroom staff, prosecutors, or any of their family members. Comments about jurors are also prohibited, as well as comments about witnesses, but wiggle room still exists within the order that allows Trump to attack Merchan, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, or anybody else, for that matter, including his political rivals.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Trump from violating the order. On Monday, the Manhattan district attorney’s office signaled that it is pursuing action to hold Trump in contempt of court for continuing to make veiled threats against participants in the case on his Truth Social account—including one post that was made after court had already begun for the day. The former president will have to appear for a contempt hearing on April 24 to determine whether his online language violated the order.

Trump Gets Accidentally, Hilariously Roasted During Hush-Money Trial

Juror selection took an unexpected turn for the former president.

Donald Trump looks down
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

During jury selection in a criminal trial, it’s important that prospective jurors be screened for any potential biases toward the defendant or prosecution. In Donald Trump’s hush-money trial, this meant the former president had to sit through the second day of proceedings listening to jokes and memes publicly posted on social media at his expense.

Screenshot of a tweet
Screenshot of a tweet

Some jokes were dated, as even six-year-old social media posts were read out in court.

Screenshot of a tweet

It wasn’t all bad for the former president: Some jury candidates read Trump’s book The Art of the Deal, and one was even a fan of The Apprentice, Trump’s reality TV show.

Screenshot of a tweet

Prospective jurors in the hush-money case had to fill out a questionnaire that included questions about what kind of media they read and watch, and whether they’ve supported far-right groups such as the QAnon movement or the Proud Boys.

In March, Judge Juan Merchan ruled that identities of jurors in this case, for their own safety, should be kept completely secret from the public—but not Trump and his defense attorneys. It’s for good reason: The grand jury in Trump’s election interference case in Georgia were doxxed by far-right conspiracy theorists. The jury in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case against the former president were kept fully anonymous, and partially sequestered too.

It remains to be seen if Trump will be able to follow Merchan’s instructions and refrain from exposing any of the jurors in his first criminal trial. His many gag orders show that he has trouble keeping his mouth shut, and his supporters aren’t known for respecting the legal process, either.

What?! Alina Habba Compares Trump to Nelson Mandela

Habba said the former president was exercising his First Amendment right by potentially violating his hush-money gag order.

Alina Habba speaks into microphones
James Devaney/GC Images

What’s the difference between Donald Trump and Nelson Mandela? According to Trump’s attorney Alina Habba, not much.

On Tuesday, Habba claimed that repercussions for Trump—other than financial penalties—for repeatedly violating the gag order in his New York hush-money trial would put him in the same boat as the South African anti-apartheid activist.

The partial gag order forbids Trump from speaking publicly about courtroom staff, prosecutors, or any of their family members. Comments about jurors are also prohibited, as well as comments about witnesses, but wiggle room still exists within the order that allows Trump to attack Judge Juan Merchan, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, or anybody else, for that matter, including his political rivals.

And according to Bragg’s office, Trump may have already violated his gag order several times—including at least one instance in which he seemingly disparaged adult film actress Stormy Daniels on Truth Social while in court.

Despite that, Habba insisted on Fox News that Trump hasn’t been anything other than “respectful” in his ongoing commentary of the trial.

“Do you think that this threat of 30 days in jail will change the social media actions of the former president in any way? Or will he keep doing this?” asked host Martha MacCallum.

“I don’t think so. I think that he is respectful, but there has to be boundaries, and we should appeal it. It’s currently on appeal. So, there’s also a due process element to this. We have items on appeal in this case that have not yet been heard,” Habba responded before being cut off by MacCallum with a clarifying question.

“Is he concerned about the possibility of it being sent to jail as a ramification?” the anchor probed.

“No,” Habba said. “I think like anybody, he’s concerned about going to jail. But if they put him in jail for his First Amendment right, he will be like Nelson Mandela. I mean, that would be just absurd.”

In the same interview, Habba apparently confused conspiracy for reality, accusing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of rigging the trial by bringing the case in Manhattan—even though that’s his jurisdiction.

“I think that we’re seeing a painful, unfortunately, selection because we’re in the state of New York, which is definitely by design,” she said, referring to the jury pool. “There is no question that Bragg bringing this in New York … these venues are selected exactly for this reason, Martha, so that they have a blue state with a blue pool.”