Deposition Unsealed in Lawsuit Accusing Trump of Rape
NEW YORK — A woman who accused former President Donald Trump of raping her claimed in parts of a deposition unsealed publicly Monday that her life was thrown into turmoil by the assault in a New York department store dressing room.
E. Jean Carroll, a former magazine advice columnist, gave the deposition as part of her lawsuit against Trump for defamation and battery.
Carroll first revealed her version of the sexual assault in a June 21, 2019, article in New York magazine. She gave further details of the alleged rape in her book, “What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal.”
Trump denied the allegations, at one point saying Carroll lied. Trump’s denials prompted Carroll to sue.
During the deposition, Trump attorney Alina Habba asked her, “Have you ever questioned if what happened in that dressing room was rape?”
Carroll responded, “I question whether he thought it was rape. I never questioned what I thought.”
Habba asked her, “During the two decades that followed, how would you say the alleged attack impacted your life?”
Carroll said, “Well, four or five years ago I would have told you it had no effect. ‘I’m as good as new. This is great. I’m fine. I rarely think of it.’ But I’ve come to understand that that rape changed my life, which is shocking for me to now understand.”
When asked for further details, Carroll said, “I lost my job. I’m looked at as a woman who’s untrustworthy, looked at now as a woman who can’t be believed. I’m looked at as a woman who was stupid and dumb enough to have happen to her what happened to her.”
Habba implied Carroll might have been trying to capitalize on Trump’s presidency when she asked, “Were the timing of your allegations related to the former president’s run for reelection?”
Carroll answered, “No.”
Habba asked, “Was it something you considered?”
Carroll answered, “No.”
When Habba asked why Carroll did not come forward with her rape allegations against Trump earlier, she said, “I’m going to say something that even surprises me because women who have been raped are looked at in this society as less, are looked at as spoiled goods, are looked at as rather dumb to let themselves get attacked. I mean, even you have to say, ‘Did you scream?’ I mean every woman who admits to being attacked has to answer that question: ‘Why didn’t you scream? Why did you come forward when you did? Why didn’t you come forward before?’ And so no, I didn’t — I would have been fired.”
Carroll said that she ran into Trump at a Bergdorf Goodman department store but was unable to recall whether it was the fall of 1995 or the spring of 1996. She said she spoke with him and they joked about trying on lingerie before walking into a dressing room together.
She said Trump kissed her, pulled down her tights and raped her over the course of about three minutes before she was able to escape. Two of her friends recalled that Carroll confided in them about the sexual assault shortly after it occurred.
Trump said Carroll was “totally lying.”
“I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type,” Trump said. “Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?”
He also said he had never met her, despite the fact the New York magazine article included a photograph of Trump standing near Carroll in 1987. Carroll said they were socializing.
Trump dismissed the significance of the photograph by saying, “Standing with my coat on in a line — give me a break — with my back to the camera. I have no idea who she is.”
In a June 2019 interview with The Hill, a political newspaper, Trump said he knew “nothing about her.” He implied her allegations were politically and financially motivated.
Five months later, Carroll filed the defamation lawsuit against Trump in a New York state court. She later added the battery claim.
Trump’s attorneys failed when they tried to get the lawsuit dismissed by arguing the presidency gave him immunity from liability. They also were unable to prevent the judge from ordering that unredacted parts of Carroll’s deposition be unsealed on Monday.
U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan explained his reasons for denying the motion for dismissal and continued sealing by saying Trump’s comments that led to the defamation lawsuit were not related to his job as president.
Carroll’s attorneys are asking the court to grant a trial in the lawsuit in April.
Tom can be reached at [email protected] and @TomRamstack.
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