- Web Desk
- 2 Hours ago
Trump denies knowing woman accusing him of rape
NEW YORK: Former United States (US) president Donald Trump maintained that he had never heard of the writer E. Jean Carroll and that her case was “another scam” in a video posted to his social media platform ‘Truth Social’ on Friday.
Carroll, 80, has accused Trump of raping her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan, and defaming her in June 2019 by calling her a liar after she wrote about the encounter in her memoir.
Carroll’s lawsuit against Trump is likely headed for a jury on Friday, after lawyers for both sides offer final arguments on how much Trump damaged Carroll’s reputation by denying he raped her.
Trump should pay Carroll “dearly” for defaming her and denying he raped her, Carroll’s lawyer told jurors near the end of a civil trial.
Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said jurors should punish the former US president for persistently lying about her client and destroying her reputation as a responsible journalist.
“We all have to follow the law,” Kaplan said in her closing argument in federal court in Manhattan. “Donald Trump, however, acts as if these rules and laws just don’t apply to him.”
“This trial is about getting him to stop, once and for all,” she added.
Trump walked out of the courtroom while Kaplan was speaking. He returned later for the closing argument of his lawyer Alina Habba, who said Carroll has “failed to show that she is entitled to any damages at all.”
Jurors are expected to begin deliberations later on Friday.
She testified that Trump’s comments caused her to be subjected to continuous attacks, including death threats, that have yet to abate.
Trump, 77, has accused Carroll of making up the encounter to boost book sales. His lawyers have argued that Carroll doesn’t deserve any money, and actually sought fame and adulation by coming forward.
WEALTH AND POWER
Another jury last May ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million over a similar denial in October 2022, finding that Trump had defamed and sexually abused her.
Because that verdict is binding for the current trial, the seven-man, two-woman jury need decide only how much Trump owes Carroll for harming her reputation, and whether to impose punitive damages to stop him from defaming her again.
Trump has continued attacking Carroll during the trial, proclaiming that her case was a “witch hunt” and a “con job” and that he had not known her.
A damages expert testified that the harm Trump caused to Carroll’s reputation alone amounted to $7.3 million to $12.1 million.
Carroll is seeking at least $10 million, but Kaplan told jurors they could award “much more,” and that an “unusually high” punitive damages award might be necessary to deter Trump, a billionaire.
“Donald Trump is prepared to use his wealth and power to defame people whenever he wants,” Kaplan said. “While Donald Trump may not care about the law, while he certainly does not care about truth, he does care about money.”
Trump, a Republican, is seeking to retake the White House in the November election in a likely showdown against Democrat Joe Biden, who beat him in 2020.
On Thursday, Trump spent only four minutes defending himself on the witness stand after US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is not related to Carroll’s lawyer, forbade him and his lawyers from revisiting issues that the first trial had settled.
Trump was allowed to confirm his October 2022 deposition testimony, which jurors had been shown, in which he called Carroll’s claims a “hoax” and said she was “mentally sick.”
Carroll had written the “Ask E. Jean” column for Elle from 1993 to 2019, and often appeared on such programs as National Broadcasting Company’s (NBC) “Today” and American Broadcasting Company’s (ABC) “Good Morning America.”
She said those appearances dried up after Trump called her a liar, and that his denials led her to be bombarded with online death threats and other attacks that have yet to stop.
Lawyers for Trump have said it was Carroll’s accusations and not Trump’s denials that prompted the attacks, saying the attacks began even before the former president said anything.
The 2024 presidential race is expected to be close even though Trump faces 91 felony counts in four separate criminal indictments, including two cases accusing him of trying to illegally overturn his 2020 election loss.
Trump has tried to make his legal travails a campaign asset, claiming he is a victim of biased prosecutors, plaintiffs like Carroll, and an unfair judicial system.