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Trump shakes his head in court as E Jean Carroll testifies: ‘He shattered my reputation’

A jury has already determined that Donald Trump sexually abused E Jean Carroll in the 1990s, then defamed her by lying that it never happened.

Now the former Elle magazine columnist says she has been branded “a fraud and a whack job” by the same man, who appeared in a federal courtroom in New York City on Wednesday to watch her testimony during a second defamation trial stemming from her allegations against the former president.

“I’m here because I was assaulted by Donald Trump and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened,” she testified.

“He lied,” she said. “And he shattered my reputation.”

Mr Trump – who also watched opening arguments in the case on Tuesday – shook his head and made comments about Ms Carroll and the case within earshot of the jury as he sat with his attorneys at the defence table.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan warned Mr Trump could be kicked out of the courtroom for his outbursts, which have become a central part of his campaign to become the Republican nominee for president as the race overlaps with a long list of criminal and civil cases.

Asked by her attorney how Mr Trump’s remarks have damaged her career, Ms Carroll said: “People don’t write to an advice columnist that’s being attacked like this.”

“Previously I was known simply as a journalist,” she said. “Now I’m known as a liar, a fraud, and a whack job.”

Ms Carroll – while testifying about the deluge of derogatory messages she receives that label her a liar, call her names, or threaten violence – sobbed as she recalled her fears that someone would shoot her.

A jury will determine monetary damages owed to Ms Carroll, whom Mr Trump repeatedly defamed by calling her a liar and denying that he sexually assaulted her. Ms Carroll is seeking $10m (£7.9m) in compensatory damages and punitive damages.

The facts in the case have already been established; Mr Trump is barred from disputing that he sexually abused her, and a judge’s pretrial ruling has found him liable for defamation, leaving a narrow trial to determine how much he should pay, if anything.

A courtroom sketch depicts E Jean Carroll testifying as Donald Trump watches from the defence table (Reuters)
A courtroom sketch depicts E Jean Carroll testifying as Donald Trump watches from the defence table (Reuters)

The trial is the second stemming from defamation claims brought by Ms Carroll. Last year, a jury found him civilly responsible for sexual abuse and awarded her $5m. The second trial stems from similarly defamatory remarks about Ms Carroll while he was still in the White House.

Despite the defamation claims against him, he insists he never met her and has repeatedly mocked and ridiculed Ms Carroll in the wake of that verdict.

In opening arguments on Tuesday, Ms Carroll’s legal team asked the jury to consider not just an appropriate amount Mr Trump owes for his defamation, but how much is necessary to make him stop.

“Think carefully about what exactly Donald Trump did here,” attorney Shawn Crowley told jurors on Tuesday. “It’s time to make him pay, dearly, for what he’s done.”

The former president has baselessly cast the trial – among a growing list of legal challenges, including criminal charges and lawsuits that threaten his eligibility for 2024 ballots and his ability to do business in the state of New York – as part of a conspiracy from Democratic officials and Joe Biden to keep him out of the White House.

As he arrived at the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, he unleashed 30 posts on his Truth Social platform repeating the same false claims at the centre of the defamation cases against him. After his courtroom outbursts on Wednesday, he returned to his social media platform to attack the judge.

“He has continued to lie,” Ms Carroll told the court on Wednesday. “He lied last month. He lied on Sunday. He lied yesterday.”

To be repeatedly cast as a liar by a sitting president “ended the world that I had been living in. And I entered a new world,” Ms Carroll said.

Carroll arrives at a Manhattan federal courthouse for the second day of a trial that will determine how much Donald Trump owes for defaming her (Reuters)
Carroll arrives at a Manhattan federal courthouse for the second day of a trial that will determine how much Donald Trump owes for defaming her (Reuters)

In 2019, while Mr Trump was president, New York magazine published Ms Carroll’s account of Mr Trump’s assault in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. She also published details in her 2019 book What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal.

Mr Trump denied her account in an official government statement, claimed he “never met” her and that Ms Carroll is “trying to sell a new book” that should be “sold in the fiction section”. He also called on the public to report allegations to his administration to determine whether the “Democratic Party is working with Ms Carroll or New York magazine.”

“The thing that really got me about this is from the White House,” Ms Carroll said during her testimony on Wednesday.

Mr Trump also was quoted by The Hill in 2019 denying the allegations and stating that Ms Carroll is “not my type”.

“It means I’m too ugly to assault,” Ms Carroll said on the witness stand on Wednesday.

Throughout Wednesday’s hearing, the judge repeatedly admonished Mr Trump’s attorney Alina Habba – who represented the former president in his fraud and serves as a senior counsel for a political action committee affiliated with his campaign – for repeat objections and failures to properly introduce evidence.

Mr Trump’s legal team called on the judge to recuse himself and then demanded a mistral. Both motions were denied.

Before the trial adjourned for the day, Ms Carroll told the court that said she pursued the case to show that a “woman can speak up and win.”

“I don’t want to be quiet,” she said. “I’m 80, it’s not right to make women quiet it has been going on for too long.”