President Donald Trump speaks to the press after arriving at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on September 26, 2019. On Tuesday, Trump questioned why he should debate his opponents for the GOP nomination, given his polling lead. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

US judge rejects Trump lawyer’s mistrial request in rape case

Trump lawyer accused judge of bias as US writer E Jean Carroll’s civil lawsuit continues into second week in New York.

President Donald Trump speaks to the press after arriving at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on September 26, 2019. On Tuesday, Trump questioned why he should debate his opponents for the GOP nomination, given his polling lead. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

The United States judge overseeing the rape case against Donald Trump has denied a request for a mistrial, after a lawyer for the former president accused Judge Lewis Kaplan of ruling in a biased manner against Trump.

In an 18-page letter filed early on Monday in Manhattan federal court, lawyer Joe Tacopina accused Kaplan of being biased against Trump, including in the jury’s presence, during the civil proceedings that began last week.

Tacopina said the effect of Kaplan’s rulings “manifests a deeper leaning towards one party over another”, including in comments where the judge “openly expresses favoritism”.

The judge denied the motion for a mistrial before testimony resumed on Monday. He did not explain his decision, ABC News reported.

Mistrial requests are rarely granted, but they can serve as the basis for eventual appeals. Tacopina was also more likely hoping the judge would grant a version of his alternative requests, The Associated Press news agency reported.

In those, Tacopina asked that Kaplan correct the record for any rulings that mischaracterised the evidence or permit Tacopina more latitude in questioning E Jean Carroll, a columnist who has accused Trump of rape.

Carroll sued Trump in November under a New York state law letting sexual assault victims temporarily sue others for attacks that happened even decades ago.

Lawyers for Carroll, 79, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday from the Reuters news agency on the Trump defence team’s request.

Tacopina began a second day of cross-examination of Carroll about five hours after requesting the mistrial.

Carroll has testified that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman department store in midtown Manhattan, most likely in the spring of 1996.

She said a chance encounter brought the pair together in an episode that was fun and flirtatious until Trump became violent in the dressing room.

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