Trump accuser defends rape claim after mistrial denied
E Jean Carroll, the writer accusing Donald Trump of rape and defamation, has denied making up her claims to drive publicity for her memoir.
Testifying in Manhattan federal court on Monday after a judge denied Trump's request for a mistrial, Carroll said she wasn't seeking attention through appearances on TV and podcasts, while acknowledging they were an important driver of book sales.
Carroll also resisted efforts by Trump's lawyer Joe Tacopina to show she experienced no suffering because, as Trump has claimed, the rape did not happen.
She said she hides her inner suffering in her role as an advice columnist, and that going to parties related to her lawsuits against Trump and stating publicly she was doing "fabulous" didn't mean she was lying about him.
"In this courtroom, I'm being forced to tell the truth," she told Tacopina on her third and final day of testimony, including two under cross-examination.
Carroll, 79, says Trump, 76, raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in late 1995 or early 1996 and then tarred her reputation and career by lying about it online.
Her defamation claim concerns an October 2022 post on Trump's Truth Social platform, where Trump called the former Elle magazine advice columnist's case a "complete con job" and "a Hoax and a lie".
Carroll used to write for Elle magazine and is now at Substack.
The rape claim was included in her memoir, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, excerpts of which were published in New York magazine in June 2019.
Carroll is seeking unspecified damages in her civil lawsuit.
She is suing Trump separately for defamation after he denied her claims, using similar language, after the book excerpts were published.
Trump has not attended the trial, now in its fourth day.
On Monday, he was in Scotland to visit his golf courses there.
In seeking a mistrial, Tacopina sent an 18-page letter early on Monday accusing US District Judge Lewis Kaplan of bias against Trump.
Tacopina said several "unfair and prejudicial" rulings by Kaplan reflected a "deeper leaning" toward Carroll, including comments where the judge "openly expresses favouritism".
Trump is leading the Republican field in the 2024 presidential race.
Tacopina said Kaplan, an appointee of Democratic President Bill Clinton, should have let him question Carroll about why she did not seek security camera footage of the alleged rape.
He also challenged Kaplan's statement that Trump might be "sailing in harm's way" after his son Eric Trump discussed on Twitter how LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman was helping fund Carroll's case.
Kaplan ruled last Wednesday that Trump's lawyers could not mention Hoffman at the trial, calling it "unfairly prejudicial".
Requests for mistrials often fail but form a basis for eventual appeals.
Because Carroll's case is civil, she must establish her claims by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not, and need not meet the tougher criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Carroll had told jurors last Wednesday that Trump put his fingers into her vagina, which she called "extremely painful, extremely painful", and then inserted his penis.
In Monday's cross-examination, Carroll acknowledged not following her own advice to readers that they tell police if they are crime victims after Tacopina questioned why she did not after encountering Trump.
"Listen, I was ashamed of what happened," Carroll said.
"I thought it was my fault."
She said it was not until 2017, when the #MeToo movement began, that she finally began to "realise some really terrible things that I did not want to face".
Trump's lawyers have not said publicly whether he plans to testify.
They have identified only one possible defence witness, the psychiatrist Edgar Nace, other than Trump.
Testimony is expected to resume on Tuesday.