Attorneys for E. Jean Carroll, the woman suing former president Donald Trump for defamation in response to his denials of raping her, are fighting hard to keep who is bankrolling the lawsuit secret from the jury ahead of a trial scheduled to begin next week.
Carroll, who says Trump raped her in the changing room of a department store 35 years ago, is reportedly being funded by Reid Hoffman, a LinkedIn co-founder and Democratic megadonor. That information was disclosed last week, according to the Daily Beast, which also reported that Carroll revealed additional details about the payment arrangement on Thursday.
"[O]n Friday, Carroll’s lawyer formally asked the judge to keep details about who’s paying for the lawsuit under wraps because 'the interest in public access here is minimal,'" the Daily Beast reported.
"Her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, argued that jurors have no business knowing who’s financially supporting the lawsuit, citing court precedent that says the circumstances of who’s paying the legal bills 'has nothing directly to do with the ultimate merits of a case,'" it added.
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The judge overseeing the case has purportedly been concerned about releasing the details into the public record just before trial. The judge also said it could be damaging to Carroll if too much focus is put on the financing question, and that the public has already had sufficient access to the
“Evidence that is inadmissible at trial should not be unnecessarily entered into the public record just before this highly watched trial is to begin,” Carroll wrote.