Trump Rape Trial: E. Jean Carroll Testifies

Writer E. Jean Carroll leaves Manhattan Federal Court in New York April 25, 2023 as jury selection is due to begin in the libel trial against former U.S. President Donald Trump, which was filed by Carroll who accused him of having her in raped in the 1990s.

Kena Betancur AFP | Getty Images

E. Jean Carroll, the writer who accused former President Donald Trump of raping her in a New York department store in the mid-1990s, began testifying for her lawsuit before a civil trial on Wednesday.

“I’m here because Trump raped me,” Carroll testified. “He lied and destroyed my reputation and I’m trying to get my life back.”

Carroll took the stand in federal court in Manhattan after the judge in the case warned Trump’s attorney about the former president’s recent social media posts attacking Carroll’s credibility.

Trump’s contributions raised two issues that Judge Lewis Kaplan warned parties to the trial not to mention to the jury.

One of those issues was whether a dress that Carroll allegedly saved from the day she claimed Trump attacked her contained DNA material that could be linked to him, or whether he was credited as the source of that genetic material could be excluded. Carroll claims Trump assaulted her in or around 1996 in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan.

The other has to do with her lawsuit against Trump being funded in part by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and a major Democratic donor, and whether Trump’s attorneys will be allowed to argue before the jury that Carroll and her attorneys withheld this fact for months have .

Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, briefed Judge Kaplan, who is not related to her, of the submissions before the first witness in the case spoke.

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Judge Kaplan suggested Trump’s attorney Joseph Tacopina that the former president could risk being sued or facing sanctions for the Truth Social posts he published Wednesday morning.

“We’re entering an area where your client could face new liability, and I think you know what I mean,” Kaplan said.

Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has not appeared in the courtroom since jury selection began Tuesday. It is not clear if he will attend the trial one day.

The former president denies raping Carroll. He also argues he did not defame her in his comments last fall when he said her claim was a hoax and that she changed her account of the alleged attack during an interview with CNN.

In his first post on Truth Social on Wednesday, Trump wrote: “The case of E. Jean Carroll, Ms. Bergdorf Goodman, is a fabricated fraud. Their attorney is a political agent funded by a major political donor who they said didn’t exist, only to be caught lying about it.”

“Just watch her CNN interview before and after the commercial break — like a different person,” Trump wrote, referring to an interview Carroll gave to CNN about the lawsuit.

He continued, “She said there was a dress with the old Monica Lewinsky ‘stuff’ then she didn’t want to make it. The dress should be allowed to be part of the fall. This is a deceitful and false story–witch hunt!”

Trump wrote a second post echoing these themes, writing, “Does anyone think I would take a then almost 60-year-old woman I didn’t know from the front door of a very crowded department store (which I’m very well known to). , to say the least!), into a tiny dressing room and…. she. Didn’t she scream? There are no witnesses? Nobody saw that?

Sketch of District Judge Lewis Kaplan at Manhattan Federal Court in New York City, U.S., March 30, 2023, in this courtroom sketch.

Jane Rosenberg | Reuters

When Judge Kaplan told Tacopina that Trump was speaking to the public about issues he was not supposed to be speaking about, the attorney accused Carroll’s attorneys of leaking to the media that two mock juries they held on the case ruled that Trump civilly liable for rape and defaming her, according to tweets from reporters in court.

Kaplan noted that someone who participated in the mock juries could have leaked this information.

Kaplan also said Trump “refused to get a DNA sample and now he wants it in the case?”

Tacopina then said he would speak to Trump about the posts later Wednesday and asked the former president not to comment on the case, according to the journalists’ tweets.

Also on Wednesday, Manhattan prosecutors asked the state court judge in a criminal case against Trump to bar him from publicly using some of the evidence in the case.

Trump is accused of forging business records related to a 2016 hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels to silence her about an alleged date with Trump.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charge and denied having sex with Daniels.

“Donald J. Trump has a longstanding and perhaps unique history of assaulting witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, jurors, grand jurors, judges and others involved in legal proceedings against him, thereby exposing those individuals and their families to significant security risks.” , he wrote Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw in her filing.

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