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Donald Trump defends golf trip amid rape trial: ‘We’re doing very well in New York’ | UK News

Former US president Donald Trump has told Sky News that he flew to his golf course in Ireland instead of attending his civil rape trial in New York because “of a long-standing agreement” to visit.

He spoke briefly after arriving at his golf course outside the town of Doonbeg in Co Clare, on Ireland’s west coast.

When asked why he was here, instead of facing in person the rape allegation made by accuser E Jean Carroll, he said: “We’ve had a long-standing agreement to come here. We’ve had a tremendous reception, a beautiful reception.

“The people of Ireland have been great, and we’ve had tremendous success, and I hear we’re doing very well in New York.”

The former magazine columnist Ms Carroll says that Mr Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in 1996 – a claim the former president denies.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump rape accuser E. Jean Carroll arrives to the Manhattan Federal Court in New York, U.S. April 25, 2023.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
E Jean Carroll at Manhattan Court on 25 April

The civil case has entered its second week in a Manhattan courtroom, but Mr Trump has not attended the trial, and flew to Scotland on Monday to visit his two golf resorts there.

He travelled to Shannon Airport on Wednesday, and will play golf at Doonbeg on Thursday, before bringing his trip to a close.

He also told reporters that the impasse over post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland was a “tough one”.

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“Well we’re going to see, they’re negotiating and we’re going to see, there are a lot of negotiations going on in Ireland and other places right now, but it’s going be a tough one,” he said.

“It’s not an easy one. We have to work it out.”

Doonberg: The Irish beachside haven where Trump is among staunch friends

Donald Trump remains a popular figure in the tiny seaside destination of Doonbeg.

His hotel employs around 300 people at peak season – that’s roughly the population of the entire village.

People here disassociate themselves from his politics, and instead focus on his vital economic contribution to the area.

As a result, tough questions are rarely asked when Mr Trump visits, as he has done half a dozen times since purchasing the resort in 2014.

After I asked him why he was on a golf trip instead of facing the rape accusations in person in a New York courtroom, he stopped to give an answer.

But after he moved on, I was called a “f****** scumbag” by a small group of bar patrons, who demanded to know why I had “attacked” the former president.

While the vast majority of locals, including the courteous and professional hotel staff, tolerate the media attention, some here are clearly resentful of outsiders questioning their loyalty to the Trump family – even if Donald Trump is facing legal accusations of the utmost gravity.

The former president may only be on a fleeting visit – but here in this beachside haven, he knows he’s among staunch friends.

Mr Trump’s reference to ongoing negotiations in Ireland, comes despite months of talks between the European Union and the British government, which culminated in the Windsor Framework, although No 10 is still in talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) about accepting the deal.

Apart from the civil rape case, the trip to Scotland and Ireland is also Mr Trump’s first abroad since he became the first former US president to face criminal charges.

No travel conditions were placed on him after he pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in New York in April.

Ed Sheeran takes stand at New York civil trial accused of copying Marvin Gaye classic | Ents & Arts News

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has taken the stand at the beginning of a civil trial in Manhattan alleging his hit “Thinking Out Loud” ripped off the classic Marvin Gaye tune “Let’s Get It On”.

Descendants of Ed Townsend, Gaye’s co-writer on the 1973 hit, claim Sheeran, his label Warner Music Group, and music publisher Sony Music Publishing owe them a share of the profits for allegedly copying the song.

The copyright infringement trial in Manhattan, New York, is the first of three Sheeran could face from lawsuits over similarities between the two hits.

Under questioning from Keisha Rice, a lawyer for Mr Townsend’s descendants, Sheeran was asked about a song of his, “Take It Back,” which contains the lyric “plagiarism is hidden”.

“Those are my lyrics, yep,” said Sheeran, wearing a black suit and light blue tie. “Can I give some context to them?”

Rice said if she needed more context, she would ask.

She then asked Sheeran, 32, about a video clip of a show in which he performed Gaye’s song live as a medley with “Thinking Out Loud”.

Ben Crump, another lawyer for the Townsend’s descendants, had earlier said the performance amounted to a confession by Sheeran.

“We have a smoking gun,” he said of the concert footage showing Sheeran flipping between the two songs.

Mr Crump said the case is about “giving credit where credit is due”.

Sheeran said he sometimes mashed up songs with similar chords at his gigs, but grew frustrated when Rice cut off his

“I feel like you don’t want me to answer because you know that what I’m going to say is actually going to make quite a lot of sense,” he said.

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Kathryn Townsend Griffin, center, daughter of singer and songwriter Ed Townsend, speaks outside New York Federal Court before the start of the trial. Pic: AP
Kathryn Townsend Griffin, center, daughter of singer and songwriter Ed Townsend, speaks outside New York Federal Court before the start of the trial. Pic: AP

Sheeran’s lawyer, Ilene Farkas, earlier said the two songs are distinct and told jurors that the plaintiffs should not be allowed to “monopolise” a chord progression and melody that are used in countless songs.

“No one owns basic musical building blocks,” Farkas said.

“You could go from ‘Let it Be’ to ‘No Woman, No Cry’ and switch back,” Sheeran testified, referring to the Beatles and
Bob Marley classics.

“If I had done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be a quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.”

If the jury finds Sheeran liable for copyright infringement, the trial will enter a second phase to determine how much he and his labels owe in damages.

The first trial is expected to last about a week.

Townsend, who also wrote the 1958 R&B doo-wop hit For Your Love, was a singer, songwriter and lawyer.

He died in 2003.

His daughter, Kathryn Townsend Griffin, is the plaintiff leading the case.

Salman Rushdie: World reacts as controversial author stabbed in New York state | World News

The stabbing of author Sir Salman Rushdie has shocked and horrified fellow writes and world leaders, with many praising him as a defender of free speech.

The 75-year-old remains on a ventilator after being airlifted to hospital and undergoing hours of surgery following the attack in New York state.

And messages of support have been pouring in for the Indian-born British author.

Fellow novelist Ian McEwan said: “This appalling attack on my dear friend Salman represents an assault on freedom of thought and speech.

“These are the freedoms that underpin all our rights and liberties. Salman has been an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists across the world.”

Read more:
Why is Salman Rushdie so controversial?

Norwegian William Nygaard, who was shot and severely wounded in 1993 after publishing Sir Salman’s work, said: “He is a leading author who has meant so much to literature, and he had found a good life in the United States.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “Shocked and appalled to hear of the unprovoked and senseless attack on Sir Salman Rushdie.

“Freedom of expression is a value we hold dear and attempts to undermine it must not be tolerated. My thoughts are with Sir Salman and his family.”

Boris Johnson said: “Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend.

“We are all hoping he is okay.”

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism… His battle is ours, a universal one.”

Melvyn Bragg, Ian McEwan Sir Salman Rushdie poses at Sir Salman Rushdie Book Launch Party at the The Collection on Friday September 14, 2012 in London. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
Ian McEwan and Sir Salman Rushdie

Multimillion-selling horror writer Stephen King tweeted: “I hope Salman Rushdie is okay.” before adding “What kind of ***hat stabs a writer, anyway? F*****!”

Comedian and author David Baddiel tweeted: “It’s appalling what has happened to Salman Rushdie. It’s also appalling that there are people who will think he brought it on himself or somehow deserved it.”

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said: “Today, the country and the world witnessed a reprehensible attack against the writer Salman Rushdie. This act of violence is appalling.

“All of us in the Biden-Harris Administration are praying for his speedy recovery. We are thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping Mr Rushdie so quickly after the attack and to law enforcement for its swift and effective work, which is ongoing.”

And Suzanne Nossel, of free expression group Pen America, said: “While we do not know the origins or motives of this attack, all those around the world who have met words with violence or called for the same are culpable for legitimising this assault on a writer while he was engaged in his essential work of connecting to readers.”