E. Jean Carroll’s testimony in defamation trial sends Trump into a rage in court
E. Jean Carroll took the witness stand Wednesday morning in the defamation trial against her Donald TrumpIt is the first time she faces the former president in a courtroom. Carroll’s testimony angered Trump to the point that he had several outbursts, prompting the judge to warn of the possibility of his expulsion from the court.
“I’m here because Donald Trump assaulted me, and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened,” Carroll testified. “He lied, and it ruined my reputation.”
When Carroll took the stage for the first time, Trump was seen whispering in the ear of his lead lawyer, Alina Haba. He sat with his shoulders slightly hunched as Carroll testified.
As Carroll spoke, Trump complained audibly and appeared to double down on her defamatory denials, her lawyer said during a morning break during the proceedings.
“Mr. Trump was sitting at the back table and was saying things out loud throughout Ms. Carroll’s testimony,” attorney Sean Crowley said.
“It’s loud enough to be heard, so I think it’s loud enough for the jury to hear,” Crowley said.
Before the court resumed after recess, Judge Lewis Kaplan warned: “I will ask Mr. Trump to take special care to keep his voice low when consulting with counsel, so that the jury does not listen.”
Trump did not listen to Kaplan’s instructions, and before the lunch break, Crowley brought up his comments again.
“The defendant was making statements again [that] “We can listen to the lawyers’ table,” Crowley said.
“He said it was a witch hunt, it was actually a hoax.”
“Mr. Trump has every right to be here,” Kaplan said. This right can be forfeited, and it may be forfeited if it is breached, which is what I was told, and if he ignores court orders.
“Mr. Trump, I hope I don’t have to consider removing you from prosecution… I understand that you may be very keen to do so.”
“I would love it, I would love it,” Trump said and pointed his finger.
“I know you will, it seems you can’t control yourself in these circumstances.”
“You can’t either.”
After Carroll’s initial statements, one of her attorneys, Roberta Kaplan, asked the former Elle columnist questions about her career. The jury heard how Carroll rose from writing articles for high-profile publications to landing a position as a columnist, as well as a talk show and writing multiple books..
Carroll is suing Trump over his June 2019 denial of her rape allegations against him. This trial will determine damages.
Related: Trump used the platform to tear E. Jean Carroll’s name “to shreds”, the court heard.
This week’s proceedings mark Carroll’s second defamation trial against Trump. In May, a jury found the former US president liable for sexual assault and defamation, and awarded Carroll $5 million in damages.
Carroll said that Trump raped her nearly three decades ago, in the changing room of an upscale department store in Manhattan. She submitted her account in 2019 when an excerpt from her book: Why do we need men? A modest proposalwas featured in New York Magazine.
He quickly attacked Trump, who was in the White House when Carroll’s allegations surfaced, saying: “I have never met this person in my life. She’s trying to sell a new book, which would indicate her motives. It should be sold in the fiction section.” Carroll sued him in 2019, asserting that Trump’s denial had tarnished her reputation and sparked online abuse and serious threats.
During her testimony, Carroll explained the series of events that occurred after the excerpt was published. Carroll said she did not tell anyone publicly about the incident.
Carroll said she expected him to respond, but not the way he did.
“I expected him to deny it, but he says it was consensual, when it wasn’t. But that’s what I expected him to say.”
Is this what Trump did?
“No,” Carroll said.
Roberta Kaplan pointed out the language used to deny Trump.
“The thing that really interested me about this was that he asked from the White House if anyone had any information about me, and if they did, please come forward as soon as possible, because he wanted the world to know what was really going on.” “People like me have to pay a heavy price,” she said.
Carroll described the barrage of threats he received in the years following Trump’s comments.
“I hope you die soon. I hope someone really attacks you, rapes you and kills you,” one letter submitted to the court read.
Another simply said: “Rape of Jan is rape of Jan.”
Carol described the methods she used to protect herself at her home in upstate New York. She purchased an off-leash Pit Bull on her property.
“He now patrols with great passion and enthusiasm,” Carroll said. She also bought bullets for the rifle that belonged to her father.
Roberta Kaplan asked Carol where she kept the gun.
“Next to my bed,” Carroll said.
Much of Carroll’s testimony detailed Trump’s continued making statements about her after he was found responsible for sexual assault and defamation. This relates to the jury’s decision on damages, as they must determine an amount that would deter him from making similar statements.
Haba’s questioning of Carol bounced between topics. Carroll doubted that the threats were deleted, noting that their size was not large.
Heba said: Likewise [you] “Sitting here today, I have no way of knowing how many death threats I’ve received, and neither do the police?”
Haba also attempted to discredit Carole by suggesting that the gun she had for protection was unregistered.
Haba’s interrogation will resume on Thursday.
Carroll was initially unable to sue Trump for sexual assault because the incident occurred outside the civil statute of limitations. But in 2022, New York State’s Adult Survivors Act gave adult victims of sexual misconduct a one-year opportunity to sue their alleged abusers for incidents outside that statute of limitations.
Carroll sued Trump again, this time citing allegations of sexual assault and defamation over statements Trump made when he was no longer president. Judge Kaplan decided that the key facts in this case would be accepted in this second trial – Trump cannot dismiss Carroll’s rape claim.
Crowley, on behalf of Carroll, said in her op-ed that jurors need to impose damages that would prevent Trump from continuing to smear her client.
He added: “He continues to repeat these lies to this day – earlier this month, last week, and even today. You’ll hear that while Donald Trump faces trial over how much money it would take to convince him to stop defaming Ms. Carroll, he continues to do so. He sat in this court. I saw him, said Crowley.
“At the end of this trial, your job will be to decide how much money Donald Trump should pay for what he did to Ms. Carroll, and how much money he should pay, which it will take to get him to stop slandering her,” Crowley said. “So that Ms. “Carol is finally able to live her life in peace.”
“We believe this number should be significant. Very significant. Donald Trump, after all, is a self-proclaimed billionaire.”