Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers were told by a federal judge to “stop wasting time” after they tried halting the deposition of former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham in a defamation lawsuit minutes after it began, citing her painkiller medication.
Grisham — who famously never held a press conference and resigned her subsequent post as chief of staff to the first lady after the Jan. 6 insurrection — was deposed Thursday in Kansas by lawyers for New York columnist E. Jean Carroll.
“Stop wasting time,” US Distract Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan said to Trump’s lawyers during a brief hearing held over the phone during a break in the deposition, according to a transcript. “It goes forward.”
The sworn testimony was briefly delayed after Trump attorney Michael Madaio tried to halt the deposition when Grisham confirmed she’d taken her prescribed painkillers, though a smaller dose than normal.
Trump is set to be deposed in the case on Oct. 19, though he’ll argue at a hearing Friday for Carroll’s suit to be put on hold pending the resolution of a key question on appeal. Carroll claims Trump raped her two decades ago and then defamed her by calling her a liar while he was in office.
Trump’s personal attorney Alina Habba said in a phone call that the effort to delay the deposition was strictly related to Grisham’s competency.
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“We have proceeded with other depositions in the case this week,” she said in the call from Florida. “The only reason for our concern with this deposition is what the transcript indicates.”
According to a transcript of the brief hearing, Habba’s partner Madaio advised the judge that Grisham had cited her medication as a reason to avoid a deposition in an unrelated lawsuit on Sept. 23.
“The issue is: The witness advised early in the deposition that she is currently on painkillers, and we were aware that in a related case she recently filed a notice of unavailability for deposition based on the fact that she was on the same painkillers, and that she would not be able to competently testify based on the fact that she was on painkillers,” Madaio told the judge.
“She remains on the painkillers today,” he added.
“Your honor, there’s been extensive testimony about this already, and it’s really somewhat of a waste of time,” said Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan. “The injury has healed, which is exactly why, your honor, we are here in Kansas.”
Kaplan said Grisham was on 20 milligrams of the painkiller, compared to her normal dosage of 100 milligrams.
“Do you understand the questions?” the judge asked the former press secretary, who was on the call. “And are you capable of testifying?”
“Yes, your honor,” Grisham said.
Grisham moved to Kansas to work against Trump in a conservative county that voted for the Republican by a wide margin, according to National Public Radio.