US: Trump lawyer attacks accuser's rape claim as politically motivated

US: Trump lawyer attacks accuser's rape claim as politically motivated
A writer has alleged that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her three decades ago. Trump's legal team is set to attack her credibility in the civil trial.
3 min read
E Jean Carroll told the New York civil rape and defamation trial she had been unable to have a romantic life [source: Getty]

Donald Trump's legal team began attacking the credibility of former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll on Thursday, as the civil trial resumed over her claim that the former US president raped her and lied about it.

In cross-examining Carroll in Manhattan federal court, Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina suggested that Carroll's account was "odd," and that she had a political agenda in tarring Trump with her rape claim.

He also referred to Carroll having "supposedly" been raped, prompting her to say she was raped.

"Those are the facts," she said.

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Carroll testified on Wednesday in graphic detail about how Trump allegedly raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in late 1995 or early 1996, and said his subsequent denials shredded her reputation and ruined her career.

She said Trump, who had been shopping at Bergdorf for lingerie for another woman, coaxed her into a dressing room, slammed her into a wall and raped her.

Trump has consistently denied Carroll's allegations and said she made them up to sell her memoir and hurt him politically.

Carroll, a registered Democrat, is seeking unspecified damages from Trump, who leads the Republican field in the 2024 presidential campaign.

The lawsuit includes a battery claim under the Adult Survivors Act, a 2022 New York state law letting adults who claim they were sexually abused sue their alleged attackers even if statutes of limitations have run out.

Carroll is also suing for defamation over an October 2022 post by Trump on his Truth Social platform where he called the rape a hoax and scam, said Carroll was "not my type!" and accused Carroll of concocting a tale to sell her memoir.

On Thursday, prior to cross-examination, Carroll finished being questioned by her lawyer Michael Ferrara.

She maintained that suing Trump was a means of "getting my name back" and denied she did it for publicity or revenge.

Carroll also said she had been subjected to a "wave of slime" from "almost an endless stream of people" who repeated Trump's social media post.

"I like attention," she said. "I don't particularly like getting attention for suing Donald Trump. Getting attention for being raped is hard."

Carroll also explained why she had sued Trump only for defamation and not over the alleged rape in 2019 after he first denied her accusations, in a lawsuit that remains pending. The Adult Survivors Act had not been law at the time.

"This act gives us a chance to be heard," she said.

Trump is not attending the trial and his presence is not required.

He scorned the case in Wednesday posts on Truth Social, saying Carroll was promoting a "fraudulent & false story." His son Eric also attacked Carroll in a Twitter post.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who oversees the trial, twice advised Trump's legal team to speak with the former president about discussing the trial publicly.