The Trump Rape Case

E. Jean Carroll, former U.S. President Donald Trump rape accuser, departs Manhattan Federal Court as the civil case goes into deliberations, in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2023. REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado

I have written several articles on our President Trump. A list of the links have been provided at the bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on President Trump’s Presidency.

The Trump rape civil suit trial was just settled. After reading the information out there is a wonder how they settled for the ClIMnt E. Jean Carroll. Well I think it was more of a draw then not. She did get money, but she also didn’t get everything that she wanted. Lets face it the case was stacked against Trump from the very start. The court case was held in New York, which is liberal stronghold and decidely anti Trump.

What to know about the Trump rape lawsuit in New York federal court

By Jennifer Peltz

As Donald Trump ran for and served as president, more than a dozen women publicly accused him of sexual assault and harassment. Most of those allegations — all denied by Trump — were never taken to court. None had gone to trial, until now.

A jury was selected Tuesday in E. Jean Carroll’s rape lawsuit in a New York federal court. The former Elle magazine advice columnist alleges that Trump raped her in a luxury department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Carroll’s civil case has taken a winding road to trial. It now comes as Trump is seeking to return to the White House and is battling a roster of legal problems, including his recent indictment on charges of doctoring his business’ records to conceal hush money payments to a porn star.

Here’s a look at the case and some key questions:

What’s the case about?

Carroll says a chance meeting with Trump at Bergdorf Goodman suddenly turned into sexual violence in 1995 or 1996. According to her court complaint, Trump ushered her to a fitting room after they joked about trying on a bodysuit, and then he pinned her against the wall and forced himself on her as she tried to break free.

She said she ultimately kneed him away and ran out of the store. Two of Carroll’s friends have said she told them about the alleged attack soon afterward. She never informed police or anyone else until she recounted the story in a 2019 memoir and magazine excerpt. (The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll did.)

What does Trump say happened?

Nothing whatsoever. “She said that I did something to her that never took place. There was no anything,” Trump said when Carroll’s lawyers questioned him under oath in October. He denies even bumping into her at the store and has accused her of making up the story to sell her book. When her account was first published, Trump said he had no idea who she was, shrugging off a photo that showed the two and their then-spouses interacting at a 1987 social event. When shown the picture again during his questioning in October, Trump misidentified Carroll as his ex-wife Marla Maples. His prior ex, the late Ivana Trump, is in the photo.

Are there eyewitnesses? Forensic evidence?

Carroll’s legal team says there were no eyewitnesses to the alleged attack, and any security video that might have existed is long gone. For years, Carroll sought to test Trump’s DNA against unidentified male genetic material found on a dress that she says she wore and never laundered. His lawyers long fought her request for a sample until February, when they offered a deal: To rebut her claim, he’d give the sample if her attorneys turned over the full DNA report on the dress. The judge said it was too late. Jurors won’t hear about the DNA and the dress at all.

Will Trump be at the trial?

His presence isn’t required and doesn’t appear likely. Trump’s lawyers have said that he wants to attend but that the security needed for such an appearance would burden the city and court. The judge, for his part, has expressed confidence that Trump can be protected in the lower Manhattan courthouse, where security already is tight.

Even if Trump isn’t there, jurors will hear from him via video of his questioning last fall. Carroll, meanwhile, plans to attend every day and to testify, according to her attorneys.

Is there a possibility of criminal prosecution?

No. The legal time limit for pressing criminal charges ran out long ago.

Then why is this civil case in court now?

It’s complicated. When Carroll first came forward, the time limit for suing over a rape case had expired. But after Trump reacted to her allegations by saying she was “ not my type ” and “totally lying,” Carroll filed a defamation suit against him in 2019. That case ground along as Trump’s lawyers fought it in various ways, including by shifting it from state to federal court and asserting that Trump’s remarks were part of his job as president — an argument that could have sunk the defamation claim.

The courts are now weighing that question. But in the meantime, New York gave people a chance to sue over long-ago sexual abuse claims. Carroll was among the first to do so. (Her case remained in federal court, however.) And Trump has continued to publicly portray Carroll as a liar, which has become the basis of a new defamation claim that will also be addressed at the trial.

What does Carroll want?

A retraction and unspecified damages.

What about the other women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct?

Two of them are due to testify in Carroll’s case. Jurors also are expected to hear the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” hot-mic recording of Trump crudely boasting that fame gave him carte blanche to kiss and grope women. Not involved in the case are two other women who sued Trump after going public with claims that he made unwanted sexual advances. Those cases were dismissed or dropped.

Watch: Trump Demolishes Rape Accuser, Her Attorney During 48-Min Deposition: ‘Not My Type’

By C. Douglas Golden

Talk about a media dud.

E. Jean Carroll’s defamation and battery case against former President Donald Trump was supposed to be the first trial that dealt a serious blow to the 2024 Republican front-runner.

Despite the fact the writer claimed that Trump raped her in the 1990s inside an upscale New York City department store, she couldn’t come up with an exact date for the assault.

After Carroll’s team presented their case in court, Trump’s team declined to even present a defense, simply relying on their cross-examination of Carroll and the evidence already presented, both in the form of depositions and court testimony, to get their case across to the jury. Then, on Friday, lawyers for Carroll released 48 minutes of video from Trump’s deposition last October, according to CBS News.

This was apparently supposed to help their case. Upon watching it, it’s difficult to see how.

During the deposition, Trump held to his original statement that he didn’t even know he’d once met Carroll, and then noted that an undated picture of them together was from a meet-and-greet.

“I was either shaking her hand or her husband’s hand on a receiving line,” Trump said. “Like I say, I shake a lot of hands with people, but I had no idea who she was.

“I think that’s her big claim to fame, you know? That she shook my hand at some celebrity event.”

While this isn’t necessarily true (I knew who Carroll was before she initially became the umpteenth liberal to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct without any evidence in particular — mostly from her iffy, entirely skippable biography of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson), this is clearly the high point of her public existence, at least from a fame standpoint.

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And while the trial was supposed to be a public bazaar, it’s mostly been a dud — to the point where Trump’s 48 minutes of testimony in October may be what most people remember from it.

For instance, Carroll’s lawyers wanted to call attention to an interview he conducted with The Hill from the Oval Office in which he said of Carroll, “I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened, OK?”

He was asked if he remembered that. “Yes, I do,” Trump responded.

“I take it, sir, that you stand by that statement today?” Carroll’s attorney asked, to which Trump responded affirmatively.

This is when Trump managed to, more or less, take his best shot at her attorney and Carroll, after he was asked whether “you or anyone on your staff reach[ed] out to anyone at Bergdorf Goodman,” the upscale New York City retailer where Carroll alleges the assault happened sometime around spring of 1996.

“I didn’t have to reach out to anybody, because it didn’t happen,” Trump said. “And by the way — if it did happen, it would have been reported within minutes.

“You’re talking about going to a major floor — probably, I assume, the most important floor — a major floor in a major department store, that’s a very busy store, by the way,” he continued, noting that a sexual assault would be heard by those at the “check-out counters and everything else.”

“I mean, it’s the most ridiculous — it’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story,” Trump said. “It was just made up.”

And he stood pat on his prior assertion: “I say with as much respect as I can but she is not my type,” Trump said. “Not my type in any way, shape, or form.”

He added, in a remark to Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan: “You wouldn’t be a choice of mine either, to be honest with you, I hope you’re not insulted.”

So, in other words, an attempt to shame Donald Trump into contradicting his prior statements was unsuccessful. Not only that, he noted that the only evidence that he ever even met Carroll was a singular photograph from a meet-and-greet event. (He even mistook her for his ex-wife Marla Maples, noting that the photo was “very blurry.”

This and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of Trump were supposed to spell doom for the 2024 front-runner. Instead, both cases seem to have given him a boost in the eyes of Republican voters and neither has been particularly damaging. If this is all the left has got on him, the hope the legal system will derail Trump’s candidacy seems chimerical at best.

Judge refuses to tell jury in Trump civil rape trial that former president is ‘excused’

The judge said the court does not accept Trump’s counsel’s “claims concerning alleged burdens on the courthouse or the City” if the former president were to testify at the trial.

By Summer Concepcion

The federal judge in the civil rape trial of former President Donald Trump said that his request for special jury instructions in the case is “premature” in a filing Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over the trial in Manhattan stemming from writer E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuitresponded a day after Trump’s lawyer sent him a letter indicating that Trump might take the witness stand in the trial but saying would be too difficult for him to attend the entire trial for logistical reasons tied to his former office.

In his letter Wednesday, the lawyer, Joe Tacopina, asked Kaplan to instruct jurors: “While no litigant is required to appear at a civil trial, the absence of the defendant in this matter, by design, avoids the logistical burdens that his presence, as the former president, would cause the courthouse and New York City. Accordingly, his presence is excused unless and until he is called by either party to testify.”

Kaplan responded that the court does not accept Trump’s counsel’s “claims concerning alleged burdens on the courthouse or the City” if Trump were to testify. He noted that Trump is under no legal obligation to be present or to testify and that Carroll’s counsel has signaled that she was not planning to call Trump as a witness.

Kaplan also cited Trump’s coming travel to a campaign event in New Hampshire on the third day of the scheduled trial while pointing out that he is entitled by law as a former president to have Secret Service protection and that additional security measures can be provided, as well.

“If the Secret Service can protect him at that event, certainly the Secret Service, the Marshals Service, and the City of New York can see to his security in this very secure federal courthouse,” Kaplan wrote.

Kaplan also noted that Trump was notified of the April 25 start date on or about Feb. 7, giving him “quite ample time within which to make whatever logistical arrangements should be made for his attendance.” He said it’s “quite a bit more time” than Trump was given ahead of his recent historic indictment by a Manhattan grand jury in a case involving hush money payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Kaplan concluded that Trump’s request for special jury instructions is “premature.”

“Mr. Trump is free to attend, to testify, or both. He is free also to do none of those things,” Kaplan wrote. “Should he elect not to appear or testify, his counsel may renew the request.”

“In the meantime, there shall be no reference by counsel for Mr. Trump in the presence of the jury panel or the trial jury to Mr. Trump’s alleged desire to testify or to the burdens that any absence on his part allegedly might spare, or might have spared, the Court or the City of New York,” Kaplan added.

In a letter to Kaplan later Thursday, Tacopina said that whether Trump appears or not will likely be a game-time decision.

“Because the decision of the defendant, who is not required to appear as a civil litigant, will be made during the course of the trial, we are not yet in a position to advise the Court in this regard,” Tacopina wrote. “However, we will inform the Court as soon as a decision is reached, particularly in light of the logistical concerns that will need to be addressed in coordination with the Secret Service, the Marshals Service, and the City of New York.”

Tacopina did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Carroll’s lawsuit alleges that Trump raped her at a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s, which Trump has repeatedly denied. Trump, who is on the defense witness list, sat for a videotaped deposition in October over Carroll’s claims.

Trump repeatedly insulted Carroll during his deposition, calling her a “whack job” who’s “not my type.” He also mistook a picture of Carroll from the 1990s as being a photo of his former wife Marla Maples, according to deposition excerpts that were unsealed in January.

With Closing Arguments Complete, the Jury is Next in Trump Rape Trial

After two weeks, a jury is about to consider whether the former president should be held liable for a sexual assault that the plaintiff says happened decades ago.

By Kate Christobek

As the civil trial over the writer E. Jean Carroll’s allegation that former President Donald J. Trump raped her neared its end, one of her lawyers focused on the man who was missing from the courtroom.

Mr. Trump did not testify on his own behalf or even show up.

“He just decided not to be here,” the lawyer, Michael J. Ferrara, told the jury on Monday. “He never looked you in the eye and denied raping Ms. Carroll.”

He added, “You should draw the conclusion that that’s because he did it.”

But Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said that there was no reason for his client to appear in court. The rape allegation, he said, was a complete invention.

Mr. Tacopina took an uncompromising line during the two-week civil trial in Manhattan federal court, the first time that Mr. Trump, 76, who has faced years of allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct with women, has had to answer such a claim at trial.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer argued that his client was never even in the Bergdorf Goodman dressing room where Ms. Carroll said he attacked her one evening in 1996. Ms. Carroll, 79, and the witnesses she called to corroborate her account had simply made up the story, Mr. Tacopina argued, and so had other witnesses at the trial who said under oath that they, too, had been sexually attacked by Mr. Trump.

“Amazing. Odd. Inconceivable. Unbelievable,” Mr. Tacopina said. “Everything in this case is one of those things.”

On Tuesday, the jurors are to begin deliberations after the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, instructs them on the law. Ms. Carroll’s lawsuit, brought under a New York law that provides a one-year window for sexual abuse victims to sue, seeks damages for battery and defamation: Mr. Trump on his Truth Social website had called Ms. Carroll’s case “a complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie.”

The trial comes as Mr. Trump faces a barrage of legal actions related to his political and business activities, including federal and state investigations, criminal charges filed by the Manhattan district attorney and a lawsuit brought by New York’s attorney general.

In Ms. Carroll’s civil suit, the standard of proof is different from that of a criminal case: The jury must decide whether her lawyers have proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Trump committed battery.

As closing arguments began Monday morning, Roberta A. Kaplan, Ms. Carroll’s lead lawyer, took the jury through the evidence, Ms. Carroll’s testimony and witnesses’ statements that she said supported it.

Two of Ms. Carroll’s friends — Lisa Birnbach, an author and journalist, and Carol Martin, a former TV anchor — each had testified that almost immediately after the encounter at Bergdorf Goodman, she had told them Mr. Trump had attacked her.

Two other women testified that they were assaulted by Mr. Trump in much the same way. Jessica Leeds, a former stockbroker, testified that Mr. Trump had groped her and kissed her without her consent in the 1970s. Natasha Stoynoff, a former writer for People magazine, said that during an interview, Mr. Trump lured her into a room at his Mar-a-Lago estate, pushed her against a wall and kissed her without her consent.

Ms. Kaplan said the defense’s position that Ms. Carroll and her witnesses were all lying was preposterous. “Donald Trump’s defense here is essentially that there is a vast conspiracy against him,” she said.

Ms. Kaplan compared the way her client had appeared during the trial — a “courageous” woman who answered questions “calmly and patiently” — to Mr. Trump’s behavior in a videotaped deposition shown to the jury.

In it, Mr. Trump had said he could not have raped Ms. Carroll because she was not his “type.” But Ms. Kaplan noted in court that when she showed him a photograph of Ms. Carroll greeting him at a function in the 1980s, he misidentified her as Marla Maples, his second wife.

“The truth is that E. Jean Carroll, a former cheerleader and Miss Indiana, was exactly Donald Trump’s type,” she said.

Ms. Kaplan said the experience of Ms. Leeds and Ms. Stoynoff showed a pattern: “Trump followed this same playbook when he attacked Ms. Carroll at Bergdorf Goodman.”

She also noted Mr. Trump’s response when she asked him at his deposition about the “Access Hollywood” recording, which became public in 2016. In it, he bragged about grabbing women by their genitals and said, “When you’re a star, they let you do it.”

In the deposition, Mr. Trump did not repudiate his comment. “Well, historically, that’s true with stars,” he said, adding that he considered himself one.

Ms. Kaplan told the jury: “He thinks stars like him can get away with it. He thinks he can get away with it here.”

She added: “Much of what Donald Trump says actually supports our side of the case. In a very real sense, Donald Trump here is a witness against himself.”

For his part, Mr. Tacopina said Mr. Trump was not a man in need of witnesses.

Joseph Tacopina leaves the courthouse.
Joseph Tacopina, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, told the jury that Ms. Carroll’s allegations were a concoction. Credit…Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

“Donald Trump doesn’t have a story to tell here, other than to say it’s a lie,” Mr. Tacopina said in his summation. He questioned who might even be appropriate to call to the witness stand, asking, “How do you prove a negative?”

He called Ms. Carroll’s lawsuit a “scam” and said that she had brought her false claim “for, amongst other things, money, status, political reasons.”

Mr. Tacopina then proceeded, over more than two hours, to challenge not only Ms. Carroll’s testimony but also that of nearly every other witness who took the stand in her case.

He pointed out how Ms. Carroll could not recall a date for the supposed assault and how she had come up with a new detail — testifying that the attack must have occurred on a Thursday because Bergdorf’s was open late on that day.

“She tailored her testimony right in front of you,” Mr. Tacopina said.

He rejected Ms. Kaplan’s argument that Mr. Trump’s comments in the “Access Hollywood” tape showed he was a predator.

“He talked that way, he said that, but that doesn’t make Ms. Carroll’s unbelievable story believable,” Mr. Tacopina said.

During the course of the trial, Mr. Tacopina, in his cross-examination of Ms. Carroll, probed for inconsistencies in her story and gaps in her memory and noted that in her testimony, she said that she did not scream during the attack.

In rebuttal, Mr. Ferrara told the jurors Monday that Mr. Trump’s lawyers had an idea of the “perfect rape victim” — one who never laughs again, never tries to hold their rapist accountable, never gets their day in court. “The perfect rape victim screams,” he said.

“That’s the defense’s out-of-date, out-of-touch view,” Mr. Ferrara said. “It is as wrong as it is offensive.”Show more

May 8, 2023, 3:59 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:59 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Judge Kaplan excused the jury for the day. They will receive instructions on the law tomorrow at 10 a.m. They will then get the case and begin deliberations.

May 8, 2023, 3:56 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:56 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Ferrara concludes his rebuttal by referring to his previous argument on how this is no he-said, she-said case. “There wasn’t even a he-said, because Donald Trump never looked you in the eye and denied it.”

May 8, 2023, 3:54 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:54 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Ferrara says like defense wants jurors to envision “the perfect rape victim,” one who never goes back to where she was raped, burns whatever clothes she was wearing, never again has success in her career, never looks at her rapist again, never flirts and screams when being assaulted.

Credit…Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

May 8, 2023, 3:52 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:52 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Ferrara calls the “Access Hollywood” tape not locker-room talk, but “a confession.”

May 8, 2023, 3:53 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:53 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

“You know from the evidence in this case it is definitely not locker room talk when Donald Trump does it,” Ferrara continues, and points to the three women who have testified in this case that the former president attacked him: Carroll, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff.

May 8, 2023, 3:43 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:43 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Mike Ferrara, attorney for E. Jean Carroll, is now addressing the defense’s argument that Carroll is lying to sell her book and that the lawsuit is a money grab. Ferrara tells the jury that Carroll told him: “It is not about the money. It is about getting my name back.”

May 8, 2023, 3:34 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:34 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Continuing to call out Trump’s absence from the trial, Ferrara says to the jury that if someone accused you of rape, you’d run into the courtroom and tell the jurors it didn’t happen.

May 8, 2023, 3:38 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:38 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Ferrara continues that Trump didn’t come into the courtroom and didn’t take the witness stand. “You should draw the conclusion that’s because he did it,” Ferrara said.

May 8, 2023, 3:31 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:31 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Ferrara tells the jury that Trump’s attorneys never called Trump to testify because “it would hurt their case if they did.”

Credit…Sophie Park for The New York Times

May 8, 2023, 3:28 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:28 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Mike Ferrara, attorney for E. Jean Carroll, has moved on to questioning why Joseph Tacopina, attorney for Donald Trump, bothered to ask Carroll specific aspects about the encounter at Bergdorf Goodman if it never happened.

May 8, 2023, 3:29 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:29 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

He reminds the jury that Tacopina asked Carroll about whether she willingly went into the dressing room first, whether she laughed and whether she screamed.

May 8, 2023, 3:22 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:22 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Ferrara is now discussing Trump’s lawyer’s theory that Carroll and her friends concocted a conspiracy to take down Trump. He said that there was no way that Carroll and her friends Carol Marin and Lisa Birnbach could have thought another assault allegation would have any effect on Trump’s political fortunes.

May 8, 2023, 3:22 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:22 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

“When America voted for Donald Trump, we all knew how he treated women,” Ferrara said. “America voted for him anyway.’

May 8, 2023, 3:11 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:11 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

“The defense made several arguments that contradict themselves,” Ferrara said. He continues by saying that Trump’s lawyers want the jury to believe that Carroll is lying sometimes, but they want the jury to believe that she is telling the truth at other times. “They want it both ways,” he said.

May 8, 2023, 3:07 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:07 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Ferrara starts out by saying “there is a difference between argument and evidence.” He continues that Carroll’s lawyers presented evidence and what Joseph Tacopina, attorney for Donald Trump, did in his closing argument was argument.

May 8, 2023, 3:07 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 3:07 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

The jury has re-entered the courtroom. Mike Ferrara, a lawyer for E. Jean Carroll, will be giving the rebuttal.

May 8, 2023, 2:57 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 2:57 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

During Tacopina’s closing, all of Carroll’s attorneys looked ahead at Judge Kaplan rather than looking at Mr. Tacopina. But Carroll herself would consistently position herself to stare directly at Tacopina. She would then look over at the jury.

May 8, 2023, 2:50 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 2:50 p.m. ET

In closing argument, Trump’s lawyer posits a conspiracy among a group of women.

Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in a dark suit and red tie.
Donald J. Trump’s lawyer said he didn’t need to call witnesses to discredit a story that was invented.Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

E. Jean Carroll’s rape accusation against former President Donald J. Trump does not make sense because she and several friends invented it to ruin Mr. Trump’s political life and sell Ms. Carroll’s memoir, his lawyer said Monday.

Mr. Trump did not testify during this trial, and the lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said there was no real reason for Mr. Trump to, because the sexual assault Ms. Carroll said happened in a luxury department store dressing room in the mid-1990s didn’t happen.

“If something is completely made up, the only way to defend yourself against that accusation is by challenging the people who made it up and the story itself,” Mr. Tacopina said.

That’s exactly what Mr. Tacopina did for more than two hours. He challenged Ms. Carroll’s testimony, arguing that many details were hard to believe. He said that Dr. Leslie Lebowitz, a trauma expert who testified, was not credible and was instead an “excuse machine” hired to “explain away all of the unexplainable.”

Mr. Tacopina said that two friends who testified to corroborate Ms. Carroll’s story, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, had schemed with Ms. Carroll. Mr. Tacopina focused on their political affiliations and how much they hated Mr. Trump.

Both women said in court that Ms. Carroll told them about the encounter with Mr. Trump shortly after it happened and how Ms. Carroll forbade them from speaking of it again.

Mr. Tacopina said there was “no plausible explanation at all for why they didn’t talk amongst themselves even once before the book, except for the obvious: The book was made up.”

May 8, 2023, 2:48 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 2:48 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

During the trial, Tacopina remained relatively restrained during his cross-examinations. Today, he was clearly in attack mode. He often grew breathless. And a few times, he banged his hands against the lectern.

May 8, 2023, 2:49 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 2:49 p.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Tacopina touched on most aspects of Roberta Kaplan’s closing argument on Carroll’s behalf. Notably absent: any mention of Trump confusing Ms. Carroll with his ex-wife, Marla Maples, when looking at the picture during the deposition.

Credit…Steve Freeman/Associated Press

May 8, 2023, 2:42 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 2:42 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Tacopina ramps up his rhetoric in his last moments before the jury. “This jury is blessed with an abundance of street smarts and we know reality from fiction,” he says. He warns the jurors they will have to live with the decision for the rest of their lives: “You and you alone are the ones empowered to make sure that the rule of law is upheld.”

May 8, 2023, 2:47 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 2:47 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

As Trump’s lawyer ends his closing argument, he says, “I ask you all to please, to please have the courage to do what is right here.”

May 8, 2023, 2:35 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 2:35 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

The judge asks the jury to disregard a remark by Tacopina about George Conway recommending that Carroll sue. The judge also sustains an objection over Tacopina’s references to the 2012 “Law & Order” episode, warning the lawyer to stop trying to interject. “Counsel, one more word,” the judge said sternly.

May 8, 2023, 2:04 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 2:04 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

As he approaches the two-hour mark, Trump’s lawyer says that Carroll’s friends were repeating her accusation as she described it in her book, rather than from their own memories. Carroll said she told them about the attack after it happened, and they both testified to that effect.

May 8, 2023, 2:06 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 2:06 p.m. ET

Stephen Merelman

Joseph Tacopina also says that the prominent anti-Trump lawyer George Conway “got his hooks into Ms. Carroll” and persuaded her to file a lawsuit against his client.

May 8, 2023, 1:45 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 1:45 p.m. ET

Who are the lawyers representing Donald Trump?

Joe Tacopina strides a sidewalk with a briefcase.
Joseph Tacopina has argued that E. Jean Carroll invented her story for political motives.Credit…Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

Former President Donald J. Trump’s defense team in E. Jean Caroll’s civil suit includes Joseph Tacopina, a lawyer who is also representing Mr. Trump against criminal fraud charges brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Working with Mr. Tacopina is Alina Habba. She is joined by her law partner Michael T. Madaio, and Mr. Tacopina is joined by his partners on the case, Chad Derek Seigel and Matthew G. DeOreo.

Mr. Tacopina, the son of Italian immigrants, graduated from Poly Prep High School in Brooklyn and Skidmore College. He decided to pursue law at the University of Bridgeport after reading “Fatal Vision,” a book about an Army doctor who killed his wife and two children.

He has extensive experience representing high-profile clients in New York’s state and federal courts. Mr. Tacopina’s first major case was defending one of the “Morgue Boys,” a group of police officers who were charged with robbing Brooklyn residents and drug dealers; they were acquitted in 1995.

Mr. Tacopina has also been on both sides of rape litigation: He represented a police officer who was accused of raping a drunk woman and represented a woman who accused two New Jersey Transit Police Department officers of attacking her.

“I believed in both cases I was on the side of justice,” Mr. Tacopina told The New York Times in 2011.

His other clients have included Michael Jackson, Sean Hannity and the rapper A$AP Rocky.

Ms. Habba also has experience with rape cases. She represented plaintiffs in a lawsuit against a Connecticut municipality for the rape of children by a town employee over the course of several decades.

She began working for Mr. Trump in 2021, when she filed a lawsuit against The New York Times, three of the newspaper’s reporters and Mr. Trump’s niece, Mary L. Trump. That case is still pending.

Ms. Habba also filed a lawsuit on Mr. Trump’s behalf against nearly three dozen of his political adversaries. A federal judge in Florida ruled in January that Mr. Trump and Ms. Habba had to pay nearly $1 million in sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

She is also representing Mr. Trump in the lawsuit filed against him by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

May 8, 2023, 1:44 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 1:44 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Tacopina is trying to present the case as entirely political. He points to remarks by Carroll and her friends Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, charging they “colluded” to harm Trump with an outlandish tale. “Amazing, odd, inconceivable, unbelievable,” Tacopina said. “Everything in this case is one of these things.”

May 8, 2023, 1:28 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 1:28 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Tacopina says bluntly that E. Jean Carroll invented the rape accusation to sell her book and was trying to capitalize on anti-Trump sentiment. He shows emails between Carroll and her friend Lisa Birnbach about selling books. “It became her lifestyle,” he said.

Credit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

May 8, 2023, 1:21 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 1:21 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

“Let’s not forget this one,” Tacopina says as he shows a photo that Carroll posted to Instagram from her walking tour of “hideous men” of New York City. She is smiling and standing next to a Trump impersonator. “She’s gleefully posing with his likeliness,” he says.

May 8, 2023, 1:21 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 1:21 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

He goes on to say that she never made a police report decades ago because the attack “never happened.”

May 8, 2023, 1:11 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 1:11 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Joseph Tacopina, Trump’s lawyer, disputes Carroll’s claim that she lost her job at Elle because of Trump’s attacks after she went public with the rape accusation. He says she was fired because Elle was upset that she gave her story to New York Magazine, a competitor. The article, an excerpt from her book, was published in 2019 under the headline “Hideous Men.”

May 8, 2023, 1:08 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 1:08 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Tacopina again accuses Carroll of inventing her account, saying it was ripped from a similar “Law & Order” episode. He asks why Carroll never let go of her purse during the alleged assault, why her tights never ripped, why no one else saw it occurring.

May 8, 2023, 12:59 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:59 p.m. ET

Lola Fadulu

The defense attacked Carroll’s credibility, suggesting she had motives to lie.

Joseph Tacopina, a lawyer for Donald. J. Trump, wears a navy suit and holds a briefcase as he exits a courthouse.
Joseph Tacopina, a lawyer for Donald. J. Trump, used his cross-examination of E. Jean Carroll to make her story seem implausible.Credit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

“It all comes down to: Do you believe the unbelievable?” Joseph Tacopina, a lawyer for Donald. J. Trump, said during his opening statement in the civil trial in which the writer E. Jean Carroll has accused the former president of rape.

Over the course of two separate days, Mr. Tacopina questioned Ms. Carroll on nearly every detail of her allegation that Mr. Trump had raped her in a department store dressing room, a claim that she first made in an excerpt of a 2019 memoir previewed in New York magazine.

Mr. Tacopina sought to elicit testimony that suggested to the jury that Ms. Carroll had motives to make up her allegation, including politics, money and fame.

He used his cross-examination to make her story seem implausible. He focused on Ms. Carroll’s inability to remember the date she said the attack occurred. He asked how she managed to push Mr. Trump away from her with her knee even though she said he had pulled down her tights. He also asked how she could have possibly held onto her purse the whole time as she claimed, and he questioned why she had not gone to the police afterward.

Mr. Tacopina also repeatedly asked Ms. Carroll why she had not screamed during the encounter.

“Even though you understood you were in the middle of this supposed battle, you never screamed at Donald Trump or screamed for help?” Mr. Tacopina asked during the first day of his cross-examination.

“I’m not a screamer,” Ms. Carroll replied.

Later in his questioning, Mr. Tacopina asked her again whether she had screamed, and Ms. Carroll appeared to be visibly irritated.

“I’m telling you, he raped me, whether I screamed or not,” Ms. Carroll said, raising her voice.

Ms. Carroll’s lawyers objected to many of Mr. Tacopina’s questions, arguing that they were repetitive and “argumentative.” Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court ruled in favor of many of those objections.Show more

May 8, 2023, 12:41 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:41 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Tacopina addresses the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, which Kaplan referenced several times in her closing arguments. He says Trump’s comments about grabbing women were “crude” and “rude” and that Trump had apologized. “He said that,” Tacopina conceded. “But that doesn’t make Ms. Carroll’s unbelievable story believable.”

May 8, 2023, 12:36 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:36 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

In his thick New York accent, Tacopina strikes an incredulous tone as he turns to the account of another woman, Jessica Leeds, now 81, who said that Trump molested her during a commercial flight in the 1970s. He asks why she came forward only once Trump was running for president. “It’s ridiculous,” he says.

Credit…Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

May 8, 2023, 12:33 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:33 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Tacopina is trying to cast doubt on the account, because the store was a public place and Trump was already well known. He discusses why he didn’t call any witnesses, saying there was no logical person to call since the date of the alleged assault was unknown.

May 8, 2023, 12:34 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:34 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer, went to great lengths to explain why Carroll did not know the exact date, and said there were several factors that indicated the episode occurred in the early spring of 1996. Those included what Carroll said she was wearing — a wool dress and tights but no coat, pointing to slightly chilly weather — and the fact that it was dark when she exited the store.

May 8, 2023, 12:25 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:25 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Tacopina plays tape from Trump’s deposition in which he denies that an assault took place. “It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story, it’s just made up,” he says.

May 8, 2023, 12:26 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:26 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

He also disparages Carroll as “a wack job” and “mentally sick” on the tape. “I have no idea who she is, it came out of the blue, she’s accusing me of rape,” he says.

May 8, 2023, 12:19 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:19 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

Tacopina says that jurors’ feelings about Trump are irrelevant: “Politicians don’t make this country great, jurors do.” He says that E. Jean Carroll abused the system by bringing a false claim for “money, status, political reasons.”

Credit…Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

May 8, 2023, 12:17 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:17 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

“We are going to take a journey to justice,” Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, tells the jurors.

May 8, 2023, 12:10 p.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 12:10 p.m. ET

Karen Zraick

The court is back in session after a brief lunch break. Lawyers going over procedural matters before Trump’s defense team starts its closing argument.

May 8, 2023, 11:34 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 11:34 a.m. ET

The New York Times

E. Jean Carroll and the women who corroborated her story spoke to The New York Times.

Carol Martin and Lisa Birnbach in closeup.
Carol Martin, left, dissuaded Ms. Carroll from speaking with the police. Lisa Birnbach told Ms. Carroll she had been raped.Credit…Left, Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times; right, Anna Watts for The New York Times

Carol Martin and Lisa Birnbach testified at the trial that E. Jean Carroll telephoned them shortly after the events to tell her story. The women all spoke to a New York Times reporter for an episode of the podcast The Daily in 2019. Hear them in their own words:

Corroborating E. Jean Carroll

The women went public for the first time speaking with reporter Megan Twohey.

May 8, 2023, 11:22 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 11:22 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

We are now on a break until noon. Next we will hear from a lawyer for Trump, most likely Joseph Tacopina.

May 8, 2023, 11:19 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 11:19 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Roberta Kaplan finishes her closing by saying that Carroll, her client, delivered courageous, consistent and clear testimony over two days. She says that the overwhelming weight of the evidence establishes that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll and that he defamed her after she spoke up publicly.

May 8, 2023, 11:14 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 11:14 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

“I’m not going to stand here and tell you how much you should award,” Kaplan says of damages. But she asks them to consider that millions of people heard and likely believed Trump’s statements about Carroll.

Donald Trump speaks at a lectern with an audience behind him.
Credit…Sophie Park for The New York Times

May 8, 2023, 11:08 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 11:08 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

“Donald Trump’s defense here is essentially that there is a vast conspiracy against him,” Kaplan says. “Donald Trump wants and needs you to disregard all the evidence that you heard in this case.” She follows up: “Does that make any sense here at all?”

May 8, 2023, 11:06 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 11:06 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Two other women told the jury they had been sexually assaulted by Trump.

Credit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

During her opening statement, a lawyer for the columnist E. Jean Carroll explained what she called Donald J. Trump’s “clear pattern” of sexual assault.

“Start with a friendly encounter in a semipublic place,” the lawyer, Shawn G. Crowley, said. “All of a sudden: Pounce, kiss, grab, grope. Don’t wait.”

“And when they speak up about what happened, attack,” she added. “Humiliate them. Call them liars. Call them too ugly to assault.”

To prove this point, Ms. Carroll’s lawyers called two women who claimed they had been sexually abused by Donald Trump to testify last week: Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff.

Ms. Leeds, a retired stockbroker, said she met Mr. Trump on an airplane in the late 1970s after a flight attendant invited her to move from coach to first class. She sat in the last open seat, next to Mr. Trump.

During the flight, Ms. Leeds testified Mr. Trump “decided to kiss me and grope me.” She said the unwanted touching came “out of the blue” and “like he had 40 zillion hands.”

Ms. Leeds said Mr. Trump then put his hand up her skirt, causing her to wriggle away and return to her original seat.

After Ms. Leeds went public with her story during Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential run, Mr. Trump denied her accusation during a campaign rally, demeaning her. “Believe me, she would not be my first choice,” he said. “That I can tell you.”

One day after Ms. Leeds testified, Natasha Stoynoff took the witness stand.

A former writer for People magazine, Ms. Stoynoff said she traveled to Mar-a-Lago in 2005 to write a profile of Mr. Trump and his then-pregnant wife, Melania, on their first anniversary. She testified that Mr. Trump invited her into a room, shut the door and kissed her, holding her against a wall.

After the encounter, Ms. Stoynoff told a few friends including her direct superior. A decade later, Ms. Stoynoff went public with her accusation after Mr. Trump denied kissing women without consent during a 2016 presidential debate.

Mr. Trump referenced Ms. Stoynoff’s allegations at a different campaign rally, two days after he denied Ms. Leeds’s accusations.

“Look at her,” Mr. Trump said of Ms. Stoynoff. “I don’t think so.”

May 8, 2023, 11:03 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 11:03 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Kaplan is going through what she calls “Trump’s MO” in assaulting women, and describes both Jessica Leeds’s and Natasha Stoynoff’s allegations against Trump. After she tells their stories, Kaplan says, “Sound familiar?”

May 8, 2023, 11:03 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 11:03 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

“Three different women, decades apart, but one single pattern of behavior,”’ Kaplan says. “In that respect, what happened to E. Jean Carroll is not unique.”

May 8, 2023, 10:59 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:59 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

From the beginning, Carroll’s lawyers have argued that this is not a he-said, she-said case, and the jury doesn’t have to rely on Carroll alone to find Trump liable. Kaplan reminds the jury of this, and points to all the other witnesses who have corroborated her story.

May 8, 2023, 10:55 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:55 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer, is addressing a matter that will certainly come up later today during the defense’s closing arguments: that Carroll and her friends Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin are part of some “coordinated conspiracy” to take down Trump. She says, “Yes, they oppose Donald Trump politically, but that has nothing to do with this case.”

Credit…Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

May 8, 2023, 10:46 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:46 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Kaplan is now discussing some parts of her client’s testimony that may seem “weird or unusual”: that Carroll kept the dress she was wearing on the day of the alleged rape, shopped again at Bergdorf Goodman and watched “The Apprentice,” Trump’s television show.

May 8, 2023, 10:47 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:47 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Kaplan says this behavior is consistent with Dr. Lebowitz’s testimony, saying that Carroll needed to “avoid the fact that she had been negatively impacted in any way by Donald Trump.”

May 8, 2023, 10:37 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:37 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Trump’s lawyer questioned Carroll’s behavior after the encounter. “People tend to act in very strange ways, in ways that may seem irrational,” after trauma, Kaplan says, referring to the testimony by expert witness Dr. Leslie Lebowitz.

May 8, 2023, 10:38 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:38 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, had asked Carroll on the witness stand why she did not scream. Kaplan reminds the jury that Lebowitz said that screaming “is one of the least likely things that actually occur.”

May 8, 2023, 10:39 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:39 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

“He raped me whether I screamed or not,” Carroll said.

May 8, 2023, 10:31 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:31 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Kaplan tells the jury that Carroll lost out on so much of life, referring to her testimony that she could never again have an intimate relationship with a man.

May 8, 2023, 10:29 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:29 a.m. ET

Lola FaduluKate Christobek and Benjamin Weiser

E. Jean Carroll described an assault in minute detail and sparred with Trump’s lawyers.

E. Jean Carroll said in court that being raped by Donald J. Trump was an event that carried lifelong consequences.
E. Jean Carroll said in court that being raped by Donald J. Trump was an event that carried lifelong consequences.Credit…Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

Across three days of vivid and sometimes contentious testimony, E. Jean Carroll recounted for a jury the day she said Donald J. Trump attacked her, sparring with a lawyer for the former president as she told her story.

Ms. Carroll, a former magazine columnist, said in a Manhattan federal court that the encounter with Mr. Trump started with banter after he stopped her at the 58th Street exit of the Bergdorf Goodman department store nearly three decades ago.

Ms. Carroll said Mr. Trump asked her to help select a gift for a female friend. “I love to give advice, and here was Donald Trump asking me for advice about buying a present,” she said.

She described to the jury how they went to the lingerie section and stumbled upon a gray-blue bodysuit. Mr. Trump directed her to “go put this on,” she said. She declined and told him to put it on instead — banter that she described as “jesting and joshing.”

Then, she said, Mr. Trump motioned her inside the dressing room, immediately shut the door and shoved her against the wall.

Ms. Carroll said Mr. Trump used his weight to pin her and pulled down her tights. She grew emotional as she spoke. “I was pushing him back,” she said, adding, “I was almost too frightened to think.”

“His fingers went into my vagina, which was extremely painful,” Ms. Carroll said. Then, she said, he inserted his penis.

Ms. Carroll said she used her knee to push Mr. Trump away and fled.

The event had lifelong consequences, she said: “It left me unable to ever have a romantic life again.”

Mr. Trump has denied Ms. Carroll’s allegations. During cross-examination, a lawyer for the former president questioned Ms. Carroll about her politics, the decades it took her to come forward and her inability to recall the year that the alleged attack took place.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, insinuated that Ms. Carroll strategically chose to reveal her story to increase sales of a memoir in which she first publicly brought her allegation.

Ms. Carroll, however, said that she decided to go public after The New York Times’s “bombshell” reporting about Harvey Weinstein, which set off the #MeToo movement. She said that telling her story about Mr. Trump might be “a way to change the culture of sexual violence.”

The lawyer pressed Ms. Carroll repeatedly about basic facts, probing for inconsistencies and asking about her inability to remember precisely when in 1995 or 1996 the encounter occurred.

“I wish to heaven we could give you a date,” she replied.

Mr. Tacopina also questioned Ms. Carroll about whether she had screamed for help.

“I’m not a screamer,” Ms. Carroll responded. “I was fighting,” she said. “You can’t beat up on me for not screaming.”

Mr. Tacopina said he was not, but Ms. Carroll, her voice rising, said from the witness stand that women often keep silent about attacks because they fear being asked what they could have done to stop it.

“They are always asked, ‘Why didn’t you scream?’” Ms. Carroll said.

“He raped me, whether I screamed or not,” she declared.

May 8, 2023, 10:25 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:25 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Roberta Kaplan, E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer, is now recounting her story of a sexual assault in the lingerie department dressing room. She says that Trump pinned Carroll against the wall and reached up her dress. Kaplan then says that Trump “grabbed her by the pussy” — repeating the vulgar language Trump used in the “Access Hollywood” video.

May 8, 2023, 10:17 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:17 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Two witnesses said Bergdorf Goodman could be thinly populated.

The facade of Bergdorf Goodman.
E. Jean Carroll said she was attacked in a department largely devoid of people.Credit…Victor Llorente for The New York Times

To some New Yorkers, Bergdorf Goodman is the epitome of luxury, a one-of-a-kind high-fashion mecca.

To the nine New Yorkers on the jury that will decide whether Donald J. Trump raped E. Jean Carroll, Bergdorf’s is where the attack either happened or didn’t happen on a Thursday evening in spring 1996.

Ms. Carroll testified that at the time of the incident, Bergdorf’s was relatively empty. She said that there were no attendants in the lingerie section and that the door to the dressing room where she says the rape happened had been left open to allow her and Mr. Trump in. She also testified that no employees attended to her and Mr. Trump while they were in the store.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, has challenged Ms. Carroll’s description of the store, and has stressed in court that she never tried to obtain surveillance video of the alleged attack.

Ms. Carroll called two former Bergdorf employees to the witness stand to bolster her account.

Cheryl Beall, who served as manager of the women’s store in 1996, said that Thursday nights were normally rather quiet. She said the sixth floor, where the lingerie department is, was less busy than other floors.

She also said employees would commonly step away from their posts to take a break or help other clients, and that dressing room doors would often be left open despite an unwritten policy of keeping them closed.

When high-profile clients such as Mr. Trump entered, Ms. Beall said, employees were instructed to be “very discreet.”

“It is very much part of the Bergdorf culture to provide privacy and discretion,” Ms. Beall said.

Robert Salerno, who oversaw security at the time, also testified on behalf of Ms. Carroll. Mr. Salerno said that Bergdorf’s had only a few security cameras at the time and that the tapes were not maintained very long. They were often destroyed or taped over, he said.

May 8, 2023, 10:16 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:16 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Kaplan is reminding the jury of the two former Bergdorf Goodman employees who have testified in this trial, Cheryl Beall and Robert Salerno. She says that Carroll’s memory of Bergdorf’s is “completely consistent” with what the jury heard from these witnesses.

May 8, 2023, 10:09 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:09 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

“It is true that Ms. Carroll cannot recall the precise date of the attack,” Kaplan tells the jury. Kaplan argues that this is because Carroll was “trying to come to grips” with the sexual assault and wasn’t focused on the date.

May 8, 2023, 10:14 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:14 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Trump’s legal team has narrowed in on Carroll’s confusion over the date of the alleged attack during the past two weeks.

May 8, 2023, 10:03 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:03 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

In the end, Trump did not testify at the trial, leaving Carroll to define him on her terms.

With Donald Trump not attending or testifying at the trial, E. Jean Carroll and her legal team have had the opportunity to define him on their own terms.
With Donald Trump not attending or testifying at the trial, E. Jean Carroll and her legal team have had the opportunity to define him on their own terms.Credit…Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

For the past two weeks, Donald J. Trump’s lawyers have tried to paint E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegations as “unbelievable.” At the same time, they have left open the possibility that Mr. Trump could come to court and deny the accusations himself.

On Sunday night, that door officially closed.

Last week, Mr. Trump’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina told the court his client would not be testifying or attending the trial.

But early on Thursday, at a golf course in Ireland, Mr. Trump indicated that he might come to court. “I have to go back for a woman that made a false accusation against me, and I have a judge who is extremely hostile,” he said.

In response, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is presiding over the trial in federal court in Manhattan, gave Mr. Trump one more opportunity to reconsider: Mr. Tacopina had until 5 p.m. on Sunday to file a motion asking the judge to allow Mr. Trump to testify.

Yet no motion was filed on Sunday night, and Mr. Trump is not expected to appear in court on Monday.

By not testifying or offering his own account, Mr. Trump is depending on his lawyer’s efforts to erode Ms. Carroll’s credibility. Mr. Tacopina has questioned every aspect of her story, highlighting details he has suggested are implausible and questioning her confusion over details. He has also strongly suggested in cross-examination that she has a political motive to lie.

If the jury finds Ms. Carroll’s story “unbelievable,” Mr. Trump is not likely to be found liable.

Still, Mr. Trump’s decision not to testify or attend the trial has given Ms. Carroll the opportunity to define Mr. Trump on her own terms. Most notably, her legal team, led by Roberta Kaplan, offered selected clips from Mr. Trump’s depositions, rallies and debates that reflect the person they want the jury to see: a celebrity who thinks his star-power gives him the ability to make unwanted sexual advances on women with impunity.

May 8, 2023, 10:02 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 10:02 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Kaplan reminds the jury that Trump called no witnesses to back up anything he said. She follows up by saying, “He didn’t even bother to show up here in person.”

May 8, 2023, 9:59 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 9:59 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Kaplan is telling the jury about Trump’s “playbook” with women, and reminds them of two others who have testified that Trump attacked them: Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff.

May 8, 2023, 9:51 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 9:51 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Kaplan starts her closing argument by reminding the jury that no one, not even a former president, is above the law. She tells the jury that it is their job to uphold that principle.

Credit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

May 8, 2023, 9:48 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 9:48 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer, will be giving the closing statement. Kaplan was in the news over the weekend after Trump’s video depositions in this case were released to the public. During the deposition, Kaplan asked Trump to explain what he meant when he said Carroll was not his type. “You wouldn’t be a choice of mine, either, to be honest,” Trump responded. “I wouldn’t under any circumstances have any interest in you.”

May 8, 2023, 9:47 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 9:47 a.m. ET

Lola Fadulu

The jury is composed of six men and three women, hailing from Manhattan, Westchester County and the Bronx. They work in a variety of industries and jobs — one works for the New York City Public Library, another for a hospital, and a third as a building janitor.

May 8, 2023, 9:46 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 9:46 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

The jurors are entering the courtroom. Over the past two weeks, the jurors have remained attentive, frequently positioning their chairs in the direction of the witnesses and dutifully examining the exhibits on the monitors in front of them. But they have stayed poker-faced, rarely showing their true feelings about the testimony.

May 8, 2023, 9:45 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 9:45 a.m. ET

Kate Christobek

We are at Manhattan federal court for closing arguments in E. Jean Carroll’s civil rape and defamation trial against former President Donald J. Trump.

May 8, 2023, 9:37 a.m. ETMay 8, 2023May 8, 2023, 9:37 a.m. ET

Lola Fadulu

Here’s a closer look at the E. Jean Carroll trial, day by day.

The American flag waves in front of the Manhattan Federal Court on a sunny morning.
The civil rape trial of the writer E. Jean Carroll against former President Donald J. Trump took place over two weeks.Credit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

Over two weeks, a jury of six men and three women heard harrowing testimony in the civil rape trial of the writer E. Jean Carroll against former President Donald J. Trump. Here’s how the case unfolded.

April 25: Opening Statements

On the trial’s first day, Ms. Carroll’s lawyers told the jury that not only did Mr. Trump sexually assault her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, but that they would present testimony from two other women to show a pattern. Ms. Carroll’s lawyers described how Ms. Carroll was harmed by not only the encounter but also by coming forward.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers told the jury that Ms. Carroll had invented the story for politics, money and fame. They said they would highlight the inconsistencies in Ms. Carroll’s testimony and focused on the fact that she could not specify a date on which the alleged rape occurred.

April 26, April 27, May 1: Carroll Testifies

Ms. Carroll took the stand for three days describing what she says happened in a luxury department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. She described how she ran into Mr. Trump, how he asked her to help him pick out a gift and how he then sexually assaulted her.

Ms. Carroll told the jury how she wasn’t able to have sex or have a romantic relationship after the encounter.

May 2: Lisa Birnbach and Jessica Leeds Testify

The jury heard from one of Ms. Carroll’s friends, Lisa Birnbach, who said Ms. Carroll told her about the alleged attack minutes after it happened, describing her as “breathless, hyperventilating, emotional.” Ms. Birnbach said she told Ms. Carroll to go to the police, but Ms. Carroll decided against it.

Jessica Leeds, who has accused Mr. Trump of groping her and kissing her without her consent on an airplane in the late 1970s, told her story to the jury. Mr. Trump has also denied her account.

A former Bergdorf Goodman employee also testified, along with an expert who said Ms. Carroll’s behavior reflected common responses to traumatic events.

May 3: Cande Carroll and Natasha Stoynoff Testify

Ms. Carroll’s sister backed up Ms. Carroll’s testimony that she did not tell her family about the encounter in the dressing room because her relatives avoided such personal issues.

Natasha Stoynoff described to the jury how she said Mr. Trump kissed her without her consent when she traveled to Mar-a-Lago for a story about his one-year wedding anniversary to Melania Trump.

May 4: Carol Martin and Ashlee Humphreys Testify

Carol Martin, another friend, testified how Ms. Carroll had told her story to her days afterward. Ms. Martin said she was “floored,” and advised Ms. Carroll against going to the police because Mr. Trump’s lawyers would “bury her.”

Ashlee Humphreys, a professor of sociology and communication at Northwestern University, described a report she put together on the harm caused by Mr. Trump’s October 2022 statement on Truth Social, the social media company he founded, in which he denied the allegation and called Ms. Carroll’s case “a complete con job” and said she made up the allegation to sell her memoir.

Ms. Humphreys said it would cost as much as $2.7 million to run a campaign that would repair Ms. Carroll’s reputation.

No shield for Trump in rape accuser’s case as court declines to rule

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK, April 13 (Reuters) – A Washington, D.C., appeals court on Thursday declined to shield Donald Trump from the first of two civil defamation lawsuits by E. Jean Carroll, a writer who said the former U.S. president raped her nearly three decades ago.

The district’s highest local court, the Court of Appeals, said it did not have enough facts to decide whether Trump deserved immunity, after he accused the former Elle magazine columnist in June 2019 of lying about the alleged encounter.

A ruling that Trump was acting as president, and not in his personal capacity, would have immunized him and doomed Carroll’s first lawsuit because the government could substitute itself as the defendant, and the government cannot be sued for defamation.

The court sent the case back to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, which had last September asked the Washington court for guidance on local law.

Lawyers for Carroll had no immediate comment.

Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump, said in an email: “We are confident that the Second Circuit will rule in President Trump’s favor and dismiss Ms. Carroll’s case.”

Thursday’s decision does not affect Carroll’s second lawsuit, where an April 25 trial is scheduled in Manhattan federal court.

That case also includes a battery claim under a New York law that lets sexual abuse survivors sue their alleged attackers even if statutes of limitations have run out.


Trump wants to postpone the trial at least until May 23, saying “prejudicial media coverage” of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s recent criminal case against him would leave that case “top of mind” for most prospective jurors.

His lawyers said a delay was also needed after they belatedly learned from Carroll’s legal team that Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent Democratic donor, was footing some of her legal bills.

They said that raised the question of whether Carroll sued Trump, a Republican, to advance a political agenda.

In an order late Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan refused to delay the trial, but said Trump could gather more information about Hoffman’s role and Carroll’s understanding of it.

The judge did not address whether Bragg’s case jeopardized Trump’s right to a fair trial in Carroll’s case.

Carroll, 79, has long accused Trump of stalling to keep jurors from ever hearing her case.

Both of Carroll’s lawsuits stem from her alleged encounter with Trump in late 1995 or early 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan.

Carroll has said Trump asked for her help in buying a gift for another woman, but later “maneuvered” her into and sexually assaulted her in a dressing room.


After Carroll described the incident in a June 2019 New York magazine excerpt from her memoir, Trump told a reporter at the White House that he did not know Carroll, that “she’s not my type,” and that she concocted the rape claim to sell her book.

He largely repeated his denial in October 2022, when he called the rape claim a “hoax,” “lie,” “con job” and “complete scam” on his Truth Social media platform.

The Washington appeals court said that in deciding whether people act in the scope of their employment, the district generally looks to whether they are motivated by a purpose to serve their employer around the time they acted.

Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby said determining what was on Trump’s mind when he first talked about Carroll was a “fact-intensive question” that “cannot be resolved as a matter of law in either party’s favor on the record before us.”

At trial, Carroll is expected to introduce testimony from two women who have said Trump sexually assaulted them, and a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape of Trump making vulgar comments about women that threatened to upend his 2016 White House run.

On April 4, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in an indictment filed by Bragg, related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Breaking: Jury Announces Verdict in Trump Rape Trial

By Brian Chai

A Manhattan federal jury has reached a verdict in the controversial case involving former President Donald Trump and author and journalist Elizabeth Jean Carroll.

Carroll sued Trump after claiming that he raped her in the mid 1990s and then harmed her reputation in 2022 when he called her claims “a complete con job” and “hoax,” per Reuters.

The jury, consisting of nine men and women, found Trump liable for “sexually abusing and forcibly touching” Carroll and for defaming her, per CNBC.

They did not, however, find Trump liable of the rape claim.

According to CNN, for being found liable to the above accusations, the jury found that Trump should pay $2 million in damages for the sexual battery claim and another $3 million in damages for the defamation claim, bringing the total to $5 million.

Trump has long denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

It is worth noting that this was a civil case, so Trump faces no criminal proceedings.

Due to that, this verdict should provide little tangible obstacle to Trump’s 2024 election bid.

Additionally, Reuters noted that, due to a large number of Trump’s most ardent supporters feeling that Carroll’s claims are little more than a deliberate and politically motivated attack on the former president, today’s ruling is unlikely to have any effect on the 2024 general election, should Trump be the GOP nomination.

Trump is the current frontrunner to be the GOP nominee, although the man many consider to be his stiffest competition, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has yet to announce.

Fact Check: Trump Was Right, E. Jean Carroll Does Have a Cat That Has a Disgusting Name

By C. Douglas Golden

E. Jean Carroll is a very odd woman.

People who just know her from her sexual battery and defamation suit against former President Donald Trump will perhaps be surprised by the depth of the oddness, but I’m not because I’ve read her thoroughly weird “biography” of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, in which chapters of fact would alternate with chapters of fiction. (If you’ve ever come across the purported overview of Thompson’s preposterously excessive “daily routine” of overindulgence in every manner of pharmaceutical, alcoholic and gustatory excess, then you’re familiar with at least part of that book’s fictional narrative.)

If you watched Wednesday’s town hall meeting with Trump, however, you may best remember her as the woman the former president says has a “dog or cat named Vagina.”

As the Twitter user who posted this noted, he certainly believes it, judging by footage of Carroll during various media interviews in which she didn’t seem terribly stable.

t he would say to voters who think the mixed verdict in the case “disqualifies you from being president.”

Does E. Jean Carroll seem trustworthy to you?Yes No

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“Well, there weren’t too many of them because my poll numbers just came out. They went up, OK?” Trump said, according to a CNN transcript. “My poll numbers went up, and they went up with the other fake charge too because what’s happening is they’re doing this for election interference.

“This woman, I don’t know her. I never met her. I have no idea who she is. I had a picture taken years ago with her and her husband, nice guy John Johnson.

“He was a newscaster, very nice man. She called him an ape, happens to be African American. Called him an ape — the judge wouldn’t allow us to put that in,” he continued. “Her dog or her cat was named Vagina. The judge wouldn’t allow to put that in. All these things, he — but with her, they can put in anything.”

Now, we’ll be fair in our fact check: Carroll’s cat’s name isn’t Vagina. Rather, it’s apparently named Vagina T. Fireball. I hope we cleared that up.

FACT CHECK: Trump was right. ✅

— Raheem. (@RaheemKassam) May 11, 2023

Carroll’s post was from May of 2019, one month before she went public with her allegation that Trump raped her in either 1995 or 1996 in an upscale New York City department store. I assume the last part of the cat’s name was inspired by Rufus T. Firefly, Groucho Marx’s character in “Duck Soup.” I also assume we can all safely assume where the first part came from.

Carroll also has, um, a unique social media history. This got introduced at her trial; in one of her Facebook posts, she asked her followers, “Would you have sex with Donald Trump for $17,000. (Even if you could A) give the money to Charity? B) Close your eyes? And he’s not allowed to speak.)”

Conservative publication The National Pulse found other strange sex-related posts on Carroll’s Facebook feed over the years, including:

  • “Big D*** Energy: Obama’s got it. Putin’s got it. Maxine Waters’s got it. Who’s on YOUR Big D*** Energy List?”
  • “Let’s play Boff/Marry/Strangle. I’ll start: Ryan Seacrest, Dick Cheney, Steve Jobs. (And yes I KNOW the game is really called F/M/K) [F***, Marry, Kill.”
  • “Really, does any woman LIKE performing oral sex on a man?”
  • “IN BED: Would you rather be called ‘normal’ Or ‘Unusual?’”
  • “Lust, Fame, Jealousy, Violently Making Out….Another week beings tomorrow!”
  • “Anal Sex! Are you behind it. Or is it now what it’s cracked-up to be? The girl wants her chap to stop asking her for ‘porn sex.’”
  • “This is how I picture Brad Pitt after we have sex.” [With link to a BuzzFeed video titled “Three Minutes Of Brad Pitt Laughing So Hard That He Cries.”]

Now, one understands that Carroll’s best-known role was as the “edgy” advice columnist for Elle between 1993 and 2019, where this sort of stuff was de rigueur for her column. Why does it matter? I return again to the transcript, this time with Trump describing how Carroll portrayed how the events that led to her lawsuit in court.

“I never met this woman. I never saw this woman. This woman said I met her at the front door of Bergdorf Goodman, which I never go into other than for a couple of charities. I met her in the front door. She was about 60 years. This is like 22, 23 years ago,” Trump said.

“I met her in the front door of Bergdorf Goodman. I was immediately attracted to her, and she was immediately attracted to me. And we had this great chemistry. We’re walking into a crowded department store. We had this great chemistry,” he continued, summing up her story. “And a few minutes later, we end up in a room, a dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman, right near the cash register. And then she found out that there were locks in the door. She said, ‘I found one that was open.’ She found one — she learned this at trial. She found one that was open.

“What kind of a woman meets somebody and brings them up and within minutes, you’re playing hanky-panky in a dressing room, OK?”

This is essentially what Democrats and Trump’s opponents are cosigning if they try to say the jury’s verdict was disqualifying: One of the most famous men in the world just happened to run into the sex-obsessed advice columnist for Elle in the entrance to an upscale New York City department store. The chemistry was instantaneous, but things went south, and he raped her in the dressing room with nobody noticing — and this just happened to be a plot-point in an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” that aired several years before Carroll’s allegation, to boot.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that voters who saw the town hall weren’t terribly concerned with Carroll’s allegation or the jury’s verdict:

CNN thought this would move the needle with Republican women, at the very least. Lo and behold, it didn’t.

Perhaps voters don’t know much about the case, but that’s hardly a handicap for Trump. If the former president’s opponents want to put this case under a microscope during the 2024 race, they have to put Carroll — and Vagina T. Fireball — under a microscope, as well, and hope her case holds up as well with the average American voter as it did to a jury in the bluest corner of one of the bluest states on the map. Good luck with that.

I think Trump got the royal shaft on this one. However, I will let you the reader decide for yourselves. I will continue to monitor any developments and will update this article as more information becomes available.

President Trump Postings