A New York federal judge blasted Donald Trump’s counsel for being “grossly negligent” as he rejected the former president’s offer to provide a DNA sample in a lawsuit accusing him of rape.
E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of raping her in the mid-1990s and claimed that the dress she wore during the alleged incident had male DNA from an unidentified source. Over three years ago, Carroll sent the DNA report to Trump requesting a sample of his DNA “for the obvious purpose of seeing whether it is possible to tell whether Mr. Trump’s DNA is on the dress.”
Trump has refused to provide his DNA, allegedly defamed Carroll and tried to delay her legal actions against him, according to court documents.
But after Trump’s latest request to postpone the multi-week trial was denied and the pre-trial discovery period for the trial has ended, Trump is now offering to provide his DNA on the condition that the judge requires Carroll to turn over a previously undisclosed appendix to the DNA report that she gave to Trump years ago.
Judge Lewis Kaplan said “there is no justification for any such deal,” adding that there is no “quid pro quo” for providing either the appendix or the DNA sample.
Kaplan said Trump is not entitled to the undisclosed appendix, as the time for pretrial discovery of evidence is over and Trump “never previously asked for it.”
Trump could have already obtained the appendix “if he acted differently,” since he was given the DNA report in 2020.
“The patently untimely request for the appendix thus reflects either a tactical shift or just an afterthought,” Kaplan wrote in his decision.
Kaplan suggests this request may be an attempt to reverse a deliberate tactical decision by Trump’s counsel not to raise the question of the appendix on the belief that asking for it “may have resulted in renewed demands for Trump’s DNA.”
He also suggests the recent request comes from a “negligent failure to read the report with any care” over the past three years.
“But whatever the explanation, the effort comes too late,” Kaplan said.
Carroll is also no longer entitled to Trump’s DNA sample, Kaplan said, as her counsel had “plenty of opportunities” to compel Trump to submit his DNA.
“Had they done so, they almost certainly would have gotten it,” he added.
Both sides have decided to go to trial without the DNA issue, adding that “starting down the DNA road at this point” would “surely delay the trail again.”
According to court documents, Carroll’s attorney asked for Trump’s DNA again in August 2022, saying the former president “barely participated” in the discovery process at all. Trump again refused to submit the sample.
On February 9, 2023, Trump’s attorney emailed Carroll’s attorney for a copy of the missing pages of the DNA report, to which Carroll’s counsel declined. Trump asked the court to direct Carroll to provide him the appendix she had already provided years earlier, court documents noted.
In the letter, Trump said he is willing to provide a DAN sample “for the sole purpose of comparing it to the DNA found on the dress at issue, so long as the missing pages of the DNA report [the appendix] are promptly produced prior to [Trump] producing his DNA.”
Carroll opposed the request, arguing it was “untimely” and would delay the trial.
Kaplan said the imminent trial and Carroll’s objection to any postponement “weigh against Trump’s application.”
He adds that according to procedural history, Trump “was anything but diligent in seeking the appendix to the DNA report,” saying his counsel may have been “grossly negligent in failing to read the report.”
The court previously noted that Trump has litigated the case since 2019 “with the effect and probably the purpose of delaying it.”
While Kaplan concludes that providing the appendix “would not be at all burdensome” for Carroll, Trump “has made it clear that he wants far more than that document alone” and would ultimately delay the trail.
Moreover, Trump’s “conditional invitation to open a door that he kept close for years threatened to change the nature of the trial for which both parties now have been preparing for years.”
Kaplan said that Trump believes that Carroll will not produce the appendix to the report because she knows Trump’s DNA is not on the dress “because the alleged sexual assualt never occurred.”
“That of course is factually impossible,” Kaplan said, as Trump “never provided a DNA sample for the purpose of comparing it to the DNA on the dress” and “no one knows whether his DNA is on the dress.”
He added that introducing the DNA issue into the case at this point would not likely produce any important evidence.
In conclusion, Judge Kaplan said Trump has offered “no persuasive reason to relieve [him] of the consequences of [his] own failure to seek [the appendix] in a timely fashion.”
He said trump failed to demonstrate a good excuse to reopen discovery for the purpose of obtaining these pages of the DNA report.
Kaplan said that there is no legitimate basis for the court to accept Trump’s offer to provide his DNA sample “made contingent on the Court granting his application, which it does not.”
The trial is set to begin on April 25, 2023.
Newsweek reached out to Trump and Carroll for additional comment.