On Saturday, January 27, 2024, the New York Post reported that Donald Trump’s lawyers plan to cite an alleged conflict of interest between the judge and E. Jean Carroll’s attorney in their appeal of the $83.3 million jury verdict against Trump.
The jury found Trump liable for defaming Carroll after she accused him of sexually assaulting her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s. Trump denied the allegations and claimed Carroll made a “hoax” accusation. In May 2022, a jury awarded Carroll $5 million in a separate trial.
Last month, Manhattan Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan presided over the civil trial that resulted in the $83.3 million judgment against Trump. According to the Post, Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said she recently learned that Kaplan and Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, worked together at the same law firm in the early 1990s.
Habba alleged neither Kaplan nor Roberta Kaplan disclosed this professional relationship, which she believes constitutes a conflict of interest and a violation of judicial ethics rules. Roberta Kaplan was an associate while Judge Kaplan was a partner at the firm Paul, Weiss from 1992-1994.
According to a former Paul Weiss partner, Judge Kaplan served as a mentor to Roberta Kaplan during her early career at the firm. However, a spokesperson for Roberta Kaplan said the two lawyers only overlapped for less than two years in the early 1990s and that she never directly worked for Judge Kaplan.
Trump’s team says they plan to cite the alleged conflict in their appeal seeking to overturn the jury verdict. If their appeal is successful, it could relieve Trump of paying the multi-million dollar judgment to Carroll. Judge Kaplan and the law firm declined to comment on the allegations reported by the New York Post.
Source: New York Post