E. Jean Carroll Takes Stand in Trump Civil Trial

Carroll said the former president 'lied and shattered my reputation'
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2023 3:02 PM CDT
Trump Civil Trial: Alleged Rape Victim Takes Stand
Former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll leaves Manhattan federal court with her attorneys, Tuesday, April 25, 2023.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Writer E. Jean Carroll testified in her lawsuit against former President Donald Trump on Wednesday, stating that in 1996 Trump raped her in a fitting room and later denied and defamed her after she went public, reports NPR. On the stand, Carroll indicated she's seeking to restore her reputation. "I'm here because Donald Trump raped me," she said, "and when I wrote about it, he said it didn't happen. He lied and shattered my reputation, and I'm here to try and get my life back." Jurors, who will be known by numbers to preserve their anonymity, were selected Tuesday.

The Washington Post is live-blogging the proceedings, in which Carroll's attorney displayed a 1987 photo of Carroll and her husband at the time meeting Donald and Ivana Trump. Carroll said she thought the photo was made "at a Saturday Night Live party, an NBC party," or "it could have been an ABC party." The Post notes that it was the same image that when Trump saw it at a deposition, he mistook Carroll for his ex Marla Maples—a goof that the Post said "could undermine [Trump's] claim that he couldn’t have raped Carroll," as he didn't find her attractive. In her testimony, Carroll admitted that she found Trump "very personable" upon meeting him, thinking he "was a well-known raconteur, a man about town, well-liked."

Carroll said that the day the alleged assault occurred at the Bergdorf Goodman department store, she was thinking, "I’m a bored advice columnist. I love to give advice, and here was Donald Trump asking me for advice about buying a present. It was a wonderful prospect for me." She went on to detail how the encounter went wrong, saying Trump essentially trapped her in a dressing room and that she ultimately managed to knee him and move away mid-assault. "I got my knee up, I pushed him back," Carroll said on the stand, but she also said she was so damaged from the experience that she was "unable to ever have a romantic life again."

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Trump claims that the allegations were made to promote book sales—and his attorneys said in court that Carroll's motivations are political. Politico notes that the presiding judge, Lewis Kaplan, reprimanded Trump and his legal team Wednesday after the 45th president called Carroll's suit "a made up SCAM" in a post on his Truth Social platform. Trump is “tampering with a new source of potential liability,” Kaplan said. The embattled former president has not attended the trial, but his legal team has indicated that he could testify at some point. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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