Writer E. Jean Carroll leaves Manhattan Federal Court in New York on April 25, 2023, as jury selection is due to begin in the libel case against former U.S. President Donald Trump brought by Carroll, which he accused of raping her in the 1990s.
Kena Betancur | AFP | Getty Images
E. Jean Carroll, the writer who accuses former President Donald Trump of raping her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s, began giving evidence in a civil trial on Wednesday for his trial.
“I’m here because Trump raped me,” Carroll said. “He lied and shattered my reputation and I’m trying to get my life back.”
Carroll took the witness stand in Manhattan federal court after the judge handling the case warned Trump’s attorney about the former president’s new social media posts that attacked Carroll’s credibility.
Trump’s messages mentioned two issues that Judge Lewis Kaplan had warned the parties to the trial not to mention to jurors.
One of those questions was whether a dress that Carroll said she saved from the day she claims Trump assaulted her contains DNA material that could be linked to her, or rules out her as the source of that genetic material. . Carroll alleges that Trump assaulted her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan around 1996.
The other has to do with his lawsuit against Trump funded in part by Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn co-founder and a major Democratic donor, and whether Trump’s lawyers will be allowed to argue to jurors that Carroll and his attorneys hid that fact for months.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, briefed Judge Kaplan, who is not related to her, on the messages before the first witness took the stand in the case.
Judge Kaplan suggested to Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, that the former president could risk being prosecuted or face penalties for the Truth Social posts he posted on Wednesday morning.
“We are entering an area where your client could face a new responsibility 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 on Tuesday. It is not clear that he will attend the trial on any day.
The former president denies raping Carroll. He also maintains that he did not defame her in comments he made last fall, when he said her complaint was a hoax and that she changed her account of the alleged attack during from an interview with CNN.
In his first article on Truth Social on Wednesday, Trump wrote, “The E. Jean Carroll, Ms. Bergdorf Goodman case is a made-up scam. Her attorney is a political operative, funded by a major political donor who they claim is n didn’t exist, only to get caught lying about it.”
“Just watch his interview on CNN 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, using Monica Lewinsky’s ‘stuff’, so she didn’t want to produce it. The dress should be allowed to be part of the deal. C is a fraudulent and false story –Witch Hunt!”
Trump wrote a second article echoing these themes and wrote “Does anyone believe I would pick up a woman then almost 60 years old whom I did not know, from the front door of a large very busy shop (me being very well known, to say the least!), in a small dressing room, and… she. Didn’t she shout? There are no witnesses? Nobody didn’t see that?”
Sketch of District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan Federal Court in New York, United States, March 30, 2023, in this sketch of the courtroom.
Jane Rosenberg | Reuters
When Judge Kaplan told Tacopina that Trump was talking to the public about issues he was not supposed to talk about, the attorney accused Carroll’s lawyers of leaking to the media that two bogus juries they held to be the case had ruled that Trump was civilly liable for the rape. and defaming her, according to tweets from reporters in court.
Kaplan noted that someone who participated in the mock juries might have leaked this information.
Kaplan also said that Trump “refused to get a DNA sample and now he wants it in the case?”
Tacopina then said he would speak to Trump later Wednesday about the messages and ask the former president not to comment on the matter, according to tweets from reporters.
Also on Wednesday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office asked the state court judge in a criminal case against Trump to bar him from publicly using some of the evidence in that case.
Trump is accused of falsifying business documents related to a 2016 silent payment his then attorney Michael Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged date with Trump.
Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case and denies having sex with Daniels.
“Donald J. Trump has a long and perhaps singular history of attacks on witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, trial jurors, grand jurors, judges and others involved in legal proceedings. against him, putting these individuals and their families at considerable risk,” Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw wrote in her motion.