A trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday on E. Jean Carroll’s civil allegation that Donald Trump raped her in a New York City department store in the 1990s, but it is unclear if the former president will appear to testify. in his defense.
Carroll, a writer and magazine columnist, alleges the attack took place at a Bergdorf Goodman department store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, when the «playful banter» she had with the businessman took a «dark turn.» «. She alleges in her lawsuit that Trump «grabbed» her, «pushed her against a dressing room wall, pinned her with his shoulder, and raped her.»
Trump called his allegations «a scam,» a «hoax» and «a complete scam,» prompting Carroll to sue him for defamation. Trump maintains that his comments are not defamatory and are the truth.
«It’s ridiculous» to think that an incident like that could happen in a department store, he said in his statement in the case, according to court documents. “So sometimes I say that to people. And I say can you imagine this? The concept of this? And it’s me. I, you know, a very famous person. That is a misfortune. Frankly, it’s a shame that something like that can be brought up.»
Jury selection will begin Tuesday morning in federal court in lower Manhattan, just blocks from where Trump was arraigned earlier this month on criminal charges of falsifying business records in a separate case involving money payments. secret to women who claim to have affairs with him; Trump has pleaded not guilty to those charges and has denied those matters and any wrongdoing.
Trump sat down for his videotaped deposition in the Carroll case in October, which his attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said in court documents she plans to use at trial.
It’s unclear whether Trump, one of only two witnesses listed for the defense, will testify in person or rely on the statement because his attorney, Joe Tacopina, was noncommittal in a court filing last week about whether the former president would attend the trial. .
Kaplan and Tacopina declined to comment on the case.
Questions for potential jurors
The presiding judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, is using an anonymous jury for the trial, an unusual move for a civil trial but one he says is necessary.
«If the identities of the jurors were revealed, there would be a high probability of unwanted media attention towards the jurors, attempts to influence and/or harassment or worse on the part of the jurors by the Trump supporters,» the judge wrote in a decision last month. .
In court documents, lawyers for Trump and Carroll laid out some of the questions they want the judge to ask potential jurors.
of trump suggestions include, «Are you familiar with the slogan #believe women» and «Do you agree with it?» «Do you think the #metoo movement has gone too far?»
Another suggestion was: «Do you think people falsely accuse others of sexual assault? Does that happen?»
They also want potential jurors to be asked about their views on Trump as president, adding: «If you have negative views, are they very strongly held beliefs?»
Questions suggested by Carroll’s lawyers include whether they follow Trump on social media, have ever attended one of his rallies or believe the 2020 election results were illegitimate.
Another asks: «Does anyone have trouble believing a victim of sexual misconduct if that victim chooses not to seek immediate medical or other assistance?»
In her court filing, Carroll said she told two friends about the attack, which she says occurred in 1995 or 1996 and lasted two to three minutes. She said that she called one immediately afterward and the other within days. The latter friend warned her not to tell anyone else because «disaster would ensue,» the lawsuit says.
«Forget it! He’s got two hundred lawyers. He’ll bury you,» Carroll quoted the friend as saying.
Carroll said he heeded the advice because he «knew how brutal and dangerous Trump could be.»
«Carroll did not mention the rape again for more than twenty years. She did not want to be seen, or see herself, as a victim of sexual assault,» according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that that position was bolstered when other women accused Trump of sexual misconduct during the 2016 election and he denied their allegations «while also attacking her reputation and insulting her appearance.» He said he, too, worried that running «could make Trump more popular in states like Indiana» since «his electoral luck has steadily improved despite credible allegations of sexual abuse.»
The lawsuit goes on to say that his thinking began to change after a New York Times story about rape allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein helped spark the #MeToo movement.
He said he decided to speak out about the alleged incident as part of a book he had been working on called «What Do We Need Men For: A Modest Proposal.»
After an excerpt from the book was published in New York Magazine in June 2019, then-President Trump issued a statement saying he had «never met this person in my life.»
“She’s trying to sell a new book, that should indicate her motivation. She should be sold in the fiction section,” the statement said. «Shame on those who fabricate false assault stories to try to get publicity, sell a book or carry out a political agenda.»
Carroll later sued Trump for defamation, but the case stalled in an appeal over whether Trump was immune from liability because he was president at the time.
He filed a lawsuit in the case that will now go to trial last year, after Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a law that opened a one-year window for adult victims of sex crimes to file civil lawsuits, even if the statute of limitations on their claim had expired, as Carroll had.
She is seeking unspecified monetary damages for the alleged rape and defamation for comments Trump made about her on his Truth Social social media website after leaving the White House.
«Carroll is not telling the truth, she is a woman I had nothing to do with, never met, and would have no interest in meeting if ever given the opportunity,» the statement said. «And, even though I’m not supposed to say it, I will. She This woman is not my type!»
Trump doubled down on the comments during his statement in October of last year, where he called Carroll a «wacky job.» «Physically, she’s not my type, and now that I’ve gotten to hear indirectly about her, she wouldn’t be my type in any shape or form,» she said, according to a court filing.
In the same proceeding, he was shown a photo of him and Carroll standing together at an event, which he mistook for his wife at the time, Marla Maples. «That’s Marla. Yes, that’s my wife,» he said. After the error was pointed out to him, he said the image was «very blurry.»
The two friends Carroll told about the alleged attack, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, are expected to testify on her behalf, as are two other women who say they were sexually assaulted by Trump, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff. Trump has also denied those allegations, saying the alleged incidents never happened.
The judge said he was allowing the testimony of Leeds and Stoynoff, as well as the notorious «Access Hollywood» tape that captured Trump saying he can grope women without their consent, to allow Carroll to present his claim that Trump has a propensity. to sexual relations. assault.
In its statementTrump mocked both Carroll and Leeds for saying they couldn’t remember the date, or in Carroll’s case, even the year, of the alleged attacks.
Trump told Carroll’s lawyer that if such a thing had happened, “his client would know it the second. She would know it the second. She would know the month, the date, the year down to the second.
Kaplan, who had noted earlier in the statement that Trump seemed to have no recollection of when he became engaged to his wife Melania, then asked the date he married the former first lady.
“I don’t even want to give you the answer. I’m not going to dignify it,» Trump responded, according to court documents.