Trump used the platform to tear E. Jean Carroll’s name “to shreds”, the court heard.
Donald Trump used his platform while president of the United States to try to destroy Jean Carroll’s name after she accused him of rape, her lawyer said in a New York court on Tuesday, adding that Trump also encouraged his hardline followers to make defamations and threats against her. Ha.
“He had the biggest microphone on the planet…He used it to discredit her — to discredit her,” Sean Crowley, one of Carroll’s lawyers, said during the opening statement in the former Elle magazine columnist’s second defamation trial against Trump, which opened. in Manhattan federal court Tuesday afternoon.
“Is it any wonder that when Donald Trump spoke from the White House, people across the country listened and many believed what he said? “Of course not,” Crowley said.
She added: “When Donald Trump called Ms. Carroll a liar and a fraud, they listened, believed, and decided to go after her.”
Trump was in court for jury selection, just hours after his landslide victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses while running for re-election, despite numerous civil and criminal lawsuits against him. Before the selection began, Trump’s lead lawyer in the case, Alina Haba, told the judge that his team intended to call him as a witness.
Related: Democrats are using the Iowa results to campaign against the threats posed by Trump
A previous jury in another related lawsuit filed by the writer in New York decided that the former US president sexually assaulted her.
Carroll said Trump raped her in a dressing room at the upscale Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan nearly 30 years ago. She came forward publicly for the first time five years ago with an excerpt from her then-to-be-released book, Why do we need men? A modest proposalin New York Magazine.
Trump, while claiming to still be president, immediately went on the attack, claiming: “I’ve never met this person in my life. She’s trying to sell a new book, and that would indicate her motives. It should be sold in the fiction section.” She filed suit against him in 2019, saying Trump’s denials damaged her reputation.
Carroll could not file a lawsuit against Trump at the time for the alleged sexual assault, because it was outside New York’s civil statute of limitations. The advent of New York State’s adult survivors law in 2022 — which provided a one-year window allowing adult survivors of sexual misconduct to sue their accused abusers — enabled her to sue Trump again, over the underlying assault allegation.
That lawsuit also included allegations of defamation over Trump’s comments about her after he left the White House. This second suit went to trial in April 2023 and was awarded $5 million by jurors, finding Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation for his post-presidential comments.
This week’s trial will only weigh damages for Trump’s denials while he was president, meaning it will actually boil down to how much he should pay her. The judge overseeing this case, Lewis Kaplan, will not allow the Trump team to refute Carroll’s claims.
“Thus, the fact that Mr. Trump sexually assaulted — and even raped — Ms. Carroll has been conclusively established and is binding in this case,” Kaplan also said in an earlier court ruling.
“Mr. Trump is prohibited from presenting any testimony, evidence, or argument that indicates or implies that he did not sexually assault Ms. Carroll, that she fabricated her account of the assault, or that she had any motive to do so.”
Crowley emphasized this point, which Kaplan conveyed to the jury during her opening.
“In the spring of 1996, Donald Trump sexually assaulted E. Jean Carroll. He managed to place her alone in an empty store.” [room] One evening he sexually assaulted her. “This is a fact,” she said. “As Judge Kaplan has just ordered you, this fact has been established and a jury sitting in the same seats in which you now sit was found to have occurred.”
“It has been proven that Donald Trump assaulted Ms. Carroll. It has been proven that Donald Trump defamed her when he lied and said it never happened and accused her of making up a story for all sorts of terrible reasons,” Crowley said.
Trump arrived at court wearing a dark suit and bright red tie. Despite facing stiff penalties for denying Carroll’s allegations, Trump has once again doubled down on such comments.
Trump — or someone acting on his behalf — posted an excerpt of Carroll’s interview with Anderson Cooper, in which she discussed her allegations, on the website Truth Social. “Can you believe I have to defend myself against this fake woman’s story?!” he wrote.
Trump’s Truth Social channel featured a barrage of other posts that attempted to discredit Carroll, as well as criticizing the judge.
“The only right, honest, and legal thing that Clinton-appointed Judge Lewis Kaplan, who has not yet been able to see clearly because of his absolute hatred for Donald Trump (Middle East!), can do is end this un-American injustice that is being done,” Trump said. “For the President of the United States, who was wrongly accused by a woman he had never met, seen, or touched (picture lines don’t count!) and knew absolutely nothing about.”
Crowley referred to Trump’s posts in which he criticized Carroll on the day of her trial, in clarifying the extent of the damage.
“How much money will it take to make him stop? Because he hasn’t stopped,” Crowley said. “For over four years, he hasn’t stopped.”
“As he sat there, he posted more defamatory statements, more lies about Ms. Carroll… at our last count, 22 posts just today,” Crowley said.
She added: “We believe this number must be large, very large… Donald Trump, after all, is a self-proclaimed billionaire.”
Trump later left the courtroom around 2 p.m., and CNN reported that he was on his way to New Hampshire for a campaign event.
Earlier, two potential jurors were rejected from the panel during selection after answering affirmatively when asked if they believed the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” by Joe Biden.
Later, Haba, who provided the op-ed for Trump’s team, suggested that Carroll was wrong for the backlash.
“I want you, as a jury, to remember this and this is very important: Ms. Carroll had a duty to minimize the impact of the statements, not aggravate them,” Haba claimed.
She also said: “She is looking for you to give her a windfall because some people on social media said bad things about her.” “But in this day and age, the Internet always has something to say, and it’s not always going to be nice.”