The judge in the E. Jean Carroll trial has clearly had enough of Donald Trump’s crap already

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Donald Trump is currently going through a civil rape trial which could end up costing him huge damages and a reputational body blow, and he’s got three criminal trials coming up after that. Yet even with the E. Jean Carroll trial now underway and taking place with a judge in a courtroom, Trump is still trying to handle these things as if it were a reality show. It’s not working.

Trump’s attorney still can’t give the judge an answer as to whether Trump will end up appearing to testify on his own behalf. Does he think this is still the Apprentice? Is he waiting to call some surprise boardroom meeting at the end of the trial and shockingly fire the courtroom stenographer, in the hope it’ll somehow magically propel him to victory in the trial? Trump does not understand the arena he’s playing in. And the judge isn’t having it.

“Fish or cut bait” were the exact words that Judge Lewis Kaplan said to Donald Trump’s attorney on Monday, after failing to get a straight answer about whether Trump is planning to show up and testify. By alienating the judge this early on, Trump is sharply decreasing his own odds of winning this trial. What happens if something comes up later in the trial and Trump legitimately needs a continuance on something, or some leeway that requires the judge to trust Trump’s intentions? If the judge has already seen enough bad faith behavior from Trump’s side, the judge isn’t going to give Trump that leeway. Trump is going to lose some rulings in this trial that he otherwise might have won.

That’s before getting to the instructions that the judge ends up giving the jury on how to interpret Trump’s failure to show up to this trial (if he ends up not showing up), and other similar matters. It’s not that if you piss off the judge, the judge is going to retaliate against you in a way that’ll cause you to lose. Not at all. It’s that the judge has to make a series of – it’s right there in the judge’s title – judgment calls throughout the case. And if you’ve already used up all your rope with the judge, you’re not winning any of those close calls, because the judge has to start assuming the worst about your intentions each time.

So if Donald Trump wants to keep behaving like this, and if he wants to have his attorneys continue down this path, that’s a good thing for those of you who are rooting for him to lose the trial. Because these antics will help Trump lose this trial. Carroll already had the upper hand in this case. Trump is now trying to hand her the case entirely.

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