When former President Donald J. Trump asked a Manhattan judge to delay a civil trial over allegations that Mr. Trump raped writer E. Jean Carroll decades ago, his attorney cited a ” deluge of damaging media coverage” of Mr. Trump’s recent indictment.
But the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of the federal district court, denied the request, saying there was no justification for a postponement and that many of the reports were “invited or provoked by Mr. Trump’s own actions “.
“It is not good for Mr. Trump to promote pre-trial publicity,” Judge Kaplan wrote, “and then claim that the coverage he promoted was prejudicial to him.”
It was not the first time that Judge Kaplan had refused a request by Mr. Trump to delay Ms. Carroll’s day in court. In a separate defamation lawsuit she filed, the judge wrote that Mr. Trump’s tactics suggested he was “acting out of a strong desire to delay any opportunity the plaintiff might have to present her case against him.”
Judge Kaplan’s resolute approach to conducting the trial came as no surprise to attorneys who tried cases before him.
“It’s very clear from being in his courtroom that he actually understands that he has a life term,” said Jennifer L. Keller, an attorney who represented Kevin Spacey last year when a jury found him not liable in a lawsuit that accused him of having sex. advance in 1986 over actor Anthony Rapp, then 14 years old.
“He’s someone who won’t be moved by public opinion, by fear, by worries about how he’ll be perceived,” Ms Keller said.
Judge Kaplan, 78, was appointed to the federal bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. A graduate of the University of Rochester and Harvard Law School, he later became a partner at the law firm Paul Weiss in New York.
Known for his intelligence and mastery of his courtroom, Judge Kaplan oversaw cases involving high-profile and, at times, notorious defendants.
He presided over the trials of key al-Qaeda terrorists, such as Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the only former Guantánamo detainee to be tried by the civilian justice system; and Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, son-in-law and senior adviser to Osama bin Laden. Mr. Ghailani and Mr. Abu Ghaith were each sentenced by Judge Kaplan to life terms in prison.
More recently, the judge oversaw a lawsuit brought against Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, by a woman who accused him of raping her as a teenage victim of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Last year, Andrew paid an undisclosed sum to settle the case.
Judge Kaplan is currently overseeing the case of disgraced cryptocurrency executive Sam Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to a series of criminal charges; he faces trial in October.