Closing arguments began Monday morning in Manhattan federal court after former President Trump waived his right to testify in the rape and defamation lawsuit brought against him by a New York City writer.
E. Jean Carroll, a former advice columnist for Elle magazine, filed suit against Trump for battery under New York State’s Adult Suvivor’s Act on the same day the legislation went into effect—Thanksgiving day.
She has asserted that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.
Carroll already had a pending lawsuit against Trump for defamation, saying his public denials and disparaging comments have damaged her reputation and caused her lasting psychological harm.
Trump has called her allegations “a con job,” a “hoax” and a “lie,” as well as “a complete scam,” which he maintains aren’t defamatory comments and are the truth.
On Sunday, Trump missed a 5pm ET deadline imposed by Judge Lewis Kaplan to say if he wanted to testify.
The plaintiff’s attorneys did, however, enter into evidence a video of a deposition undertaken by Trump in October at his Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago.
Carroll’s legal team publicly released video of the deposition, during which Carroll attorney Roberta Kaplan—no relation to Judge Kaplan—asked Trump about the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005 in which Trump can be heard saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” adding: “Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”
“Well, historically that’s true with stars,” Trump replied after watching a clip of his comments.
When Ms. Kaplan pressed him about whether he stood by the statement that a star could “grab them by the p***y,” Trump replied: “Well, I guess if you look over the last million years, that’s been largely true—not always true, but largely true, unfortunately or fortunately.”
When Ms. Kaplan further questioned, “And you consider yourself to be a star?” Trump responded, “I think so, yeah.”
Ahead of the trial Judge Kaplan rejected Trump’s bid to exclude the “Access Hollywood” video.
Ms. Kaplan kicked off closing arguments Monday, telling the jury that Carroll is “not hiding anything.”
Even when she was asked the most difficult and obviously offensive questions…she answered them calmly and patiently,” Kaplan said, referring to the defense’s three days of cross-examination of Carroll.
Two of Carroll’s friends testified that she told them about the attack shortly after it occurred in 1996 and said they believed her. Jurors further heard from two other women who have asserted that Trump sexually assaulted them decades ago. Trump has also denied their claims.
Both sides rested their cases last week without the defense calling any witnesses.
Later Monday in his closing arguments, Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina urged jurors to set aside any opinions they might have about the former President and reject what he called Carroll’s efforts to “profit” off, according to him, a false story.
Carroll disclosed her rape allegations against Trump in a 2019 memoir at the height of the #metoo movement.
“What E. Jean Carroll has done here is an affront to justice. She has abused this system by bringing a false claim for amongst other things money, status, political reasons,” Tacopina said.
Carroll, who testified that she’d lost her job at Elle magazine and received death threats after publishing her memoir, is seeking unspecified monetary damages.