NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for E. Jean Carroll tried unsuccessfully to get a man booted off the jury that found former President Donald Trump liable for sexual abuse because he occasionally listens to the provocative podcaster Tim Pool, newly unsealed court records revealed Wednesday.
The 31-year-old male juror ultimately joined eight other anonymous jurors in delivering a unanimous verdict Tuesday awarding Carroll $5 million in damages, finding that Trump abused the magazine columnist in 1996 at a luxury Manhattan department store.
Trump denied ever knowing Carroll and said the encounter at Bergdorf Goodman never happened. The jury rejected Carroll’s claim that she was raped.
At one point in the trial, Carroll’s attorneys secretly complained to the judge that the scale might be tipped against their client because Juror No. 77 “was biased in ways requiring his dismissal from the jury.”
In a court filing on April 30 that was initially sealed, they noted that the juror, a Bronx man who worked a job in security, had told the judge during the jury selection that he got his news from listening to Pool, whom Carroll’s lawyers described as “an extreme right-wing podcaster who consistently, aggressively, and unreservedly espouses highly prejudicial views on social and political issues directly implicated by this case.”
In arguing for removal of the juror, Carroll’s lawyers said Pool had at least twice on his show spoken of Carroll’s case, saying in a June 2019 episode: “This woman: Should we take her seriously? In my opinion, no. … I’m sorry, when you’re accusing someone of a crime 30 years after the fact, I don’t know what we can do for you.”
Carroll’s lawyers said they would have objected sooner — by then the trial was already underway — but an initial court transcript of the juror’s comments misstated Pool’s name.
Journalists covering the trial, however, had noticed the juror’s mention of Pool and written about it. The lawyers said they sought the juror’s removal the morning after the news reports came out.
The judge agreed to further question the juror, who told the court he’d heard Pool three or four times in the past six months and believed his show featured guests including political figures and celebrities “on the left, on the right, you know, balanced.” The juror also said he’d never heard of Carroll before, or anything on any podcasts about women suing Trump over sexual harassment. He said he was confident he could be “fair and impartial on both sides.”
Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, opposed the juror’s removal.
“A juror’s political affiliation is not grounds for dismissal, even in a case involving a political figure,” he wrote. He said Carroll’s lawyers were trying to get Juror 77 kicked off the panel because he “acknowledged occasionally listening to a podcast that might be considered conservative at times.”
The judge let the juror stay on the panel.
The debate over the juror was revealed Wednesday when the judge unsealed documents related to the dispute.
After the jury announced its verdict, Tacopina said Trump was “firm in his belief, as many people are, that he cannot get a fair trial in New York City.”
He said Trump’s belief was based in part “on the jury pool.”
Tacopina did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
One of Carroll’s lawyers, Roberta Kaplan, said in an email: “We are grateful that all nine jurors, including Juror No. 77, were not only faithful to their oath as jurors, but deliberated to reach a fair, impartial and unanimous verdict.”
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is unrelated to Roberta Kaplan, told jurors after they delivered their verdict that they now had the right to speak about the case and to relate their experiences.
But, he added: “You would each individually have the right to identify yourself as someone who was on this jury or not. My advice to you is not to identify yourselves — not now and not for a long time.”
Pool, who has objected to being labeled “extremist,” tweeted about the dispute over the juror Wednesday, saying, “If you think the show is ‘far right’ youre in a cult.”