The judge in former President Donald Trump’s rape case ordered lawyers at the start of a civil trial on Tuesday to keep their clients and witnesses from making public statements that could lead to violence.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan admonished them before seating nine jurors who will weigh whether Trump raped former Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s – and defamed her by denying it happened.
Opening statements were scheduled to begin later on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. The trial is expected to last one to two weeks.
Trump has long inspired strong feelings from supporters and opponents across the political spectrum.
Before juror questioning began, Kaplan ordered Trump’s and Carroll’s lawyers to tell their clients and witnesses not to make statements that could “incite violence or civil unrest.”
Trump, 76, called Carroll’s rape claim a “hoax” and “complete Scam” in a October 2022 post on his Truth Social platform. He also said she made up the encounter to promote her memoir and declared that she was “not my type!”
Carroll, 79, is seeking unspecified damages for what she calls significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological harm, and invasion of privacy.
She invoked a new state law in New York giving adult sexual abuse victims a one-year window to sue their alleged attackers, even if statutes of limitations have long since expired.
The trial began the same day President Joe Biden, a Democrat, said he would seek a second White House term.