Trump Rape Lawsuit Goes to Jury

May 9, 2023

The jury has begun deliberations Tuesday in the rape and defamation lawsuit against former President Trump in Manhattan federal court.

E. Jean Carroll, a former advice columnist for Elle magazine, filed suit against former President 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. She is seeking unspecified damages in her battery lawsuit, asserting that Trump 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.

Closing arguments wrapped Monday without Trump’s defense attorneys having called a single witness. 

Judge Lewis Kaplan had given Trump a 5pm ET Sunday deadline to decide if he wanted to testify in his own defense, to which Trump did not respond.

Despite skipping the judge’s offer, Trump posted on his Truth Social platform on Tuesday that he was “not allowed to speak or defend himself” against Carroll’s accusations, which he again called false.  

He added, “I will therefore not speak until after the trial, but will appeal the Unconstitutional silencing of me, as a candidate, no matter the outcome!”

The former President announced in November that he was running for reelection in 2024.

In the absence of Trump’s testimony, Carroll’s attorneys had entered into evidence a video of a deposition undertaken by Trump in October at his Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago.

When questioned by Carroll attorney Roberta Kaplan—no relation to Judge Kaplan—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…Grab them by the p***y,” Trump replied that “historically” that’s been true, “unfortunately or fortunately.”

He further told the attorney that he considered himself a star. 

Ms. Kaplan kicked off closing arguments Monday, telling the jury that Carroll was “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 Trump legal team’s three days of cross-examination of Carroll.

During 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.

Since this is not a criminal trial, the jury must determine whether Carroll’s legal team proved that Trump committed battery against her by a preponderance of the evidence, rather than beyond a reasonable doubt.

In the same respect, the jury must decide whether Trump committed defamation by a preponderance of evidence that he knew he had published false statements about Carroll last year and knowingly exposed her to public ridicule. The jury must also determine whether there is clear and convincing evidence—rather than evidence beyond reasonable doubt—that the statement was false, and that Trump made the statement with actual malice.

PHOTO: Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse, Manhattan

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