Donald Trump testified for just three minutes in a New York defamation trial to determine how much he might pay fashion writer E Jean Carroll for calling her a liar when she publicly accused him of rape.
The former US president said in court on Thursday: “She said something I considered a false accusation.”
His highly-anticipated appearance was marked by how briefly it lasted.
A lawyer for Carroll objected and US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan told the jury to disregard the remark.
Later, Trump said: “And I just wanted to defend myself, my family and frankly, the presidency.”
That, too, drew an objection and another instruction from the judge for the jury to ignore it.
As Trump left the courtroom after his testimony, he was shaking his head, repeatedly saying: “This is not America. This is not America. This is not America.”
Without speaking to the media, Trump departed in motorcade that was idling in a back alley.
Judge Kaplan instructed jurors that they must accept the findings of another New York jury that awarded Carroll $5 million (£3.9 million) after concluding that Trump did sexually abuse Carroll at the Bergdorf Goodman store in Manhattan and defamed her in October 2022 statements. Trump did not attend that trial.
Carroll, who is seeking over $10m (£7.8m) in damages was in the courtroom as Trump was sworn in as a witness in Manhattan federal court.
She claims Trump ruined her reputation after she accused him for the first time publicly in a memoir of sexually abusing her in spring 1996 in the dressing room of the luxury department store.
Trump, 77, has vehemently denied the accusations for the last five years and continues to assail Carroll, 80, on the campaign trail as he pursued the presidency as the Republican frontrunner.
The current trial, which already featured testimony by Carroll, focuses only on statements Trump made in June 2019 while he was president. Those claims had been delayed four years by appeals.
Soon after Trump attorney Alina Habba out of the presence of the jury announced that her client would testify, Trump could be heard saying aloud: “I never met the woman. I don’t know who the woman is. I wasn’t at the trial,”
That comment prompted Kaplan to respond: “I’m sorry Mr. Trump. You’re interrupting these proceedings. ... That is not permitted.”
Ms Habba told the Manhattan federal court judge that Trump was her last witness after a lunch break and that she only planned to ask him three questions to elicit that he was addressing questions in 2019 in response to Carroll’s claims in a memoir that he raped her and that and that he did not intend his statements to harm Carroll.