Testimony in Donald Trump rape accuser's trial gets underway
The civil trial of a nearly 30-year-old rape claim against Donald Trump is expected to resume on Wednesday, including the start of testimony expected to feature the woman accusing the former US president of raping her and then lying about it.
E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine advice columnist, has said Trump maneuvered her into a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in late 1995 or early 1996, after seeking her help in buying lingerie for another woman.
Carroll said that once they were alone, Trump shut the door, forced her against a wall and raped her, until she was able to flee after two or three minutes.
Trump, 76, has forcefully denied raping Carroll, saying she was not his "type" and made up the claim to promote her 2019 memoir, What Do We Need Men For?
He is not attending the trial and is not required to. Carroll does not plan to call Trump as a witness, and Trump's lawyers have signalled he may not testify.
Trump nonetheless doubled down on his criticism of Carroll in a Wednesday post on his Truth Social platform.
"The E. Jean Carroll case, Ms. Bergdorf Goodman, is a made up SCAM," Trump wrote. "This is a fraudulent & false story--Witch Hunt!"
Carroll, 79, is suing Trump for defamation after he denied her rape claim in an October post on Truth Social.
She is also suing under New York's Adult Survivors Act, which lets adults sue their alleged abusers long after statutes of limitations have run out.
A six-man, three-woman jury is expected to decide whether to hold Trump liable for damages, and, if so, how much he owes Carroll in damages.
The trial before US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan is expected to last one to two weeks.
Other possible witnesses for Carroll include two friends in whom she confided about Trump's alleged rape, and two other women who have accused Trump of sexual assault.
Trump is the Republican front-runner in the 2024 US presidential election.
In her opening statement on Tuesday, Shawn Crowley, one of Carroll's lawyers, told jurors that the evidence made the trial more than a "he said, she said" dispute.
Trump's lawyer Joe Tacopina countered that the evidence was not there, and that if jurors in heavily Democratic Manhattan did not like Trump, they should express themselves at the ballot box, not in court.