New York columnist E Jean Carroll has told a jury that former US President Donald Trump raped her and then “shattered my reputation” by denying it as she testified in her civil lawsuit seeking damages for battery.
Donald Trump allegedly sexually assaulted her in a New York department store changing room in 1996 and accused her of lying when she went public with her accusations in a book.
“I am here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it he said it didn’t happen,” Carroll, 79, said under questioning by her lawyer. She added: “He shattered my reputation and I’m trying to get my life back.”
The jury of six men and three women will decide if Trump, 76, is liable for sexually assaulting Carroll more than two decades ago and defaming her last year by claiming on social media that she fabricated the attack to sell a book. He has denied wrongdoing and argues the case is part of a broader politically motivated “witch hunt.”
His lawyer, Joe Tacopina, signaled during his opening argument on Tuesday that he’ll seek to undermine Carroll’s story by presenting evidence that she is motivated by an animus toward Trump and that she waited too long to come forward with her claim if it were true.
Carroll said Trump asked her to go to the sixth-floor lingerie department, where they eventually found a lacy bodysuit that he jokingly suggested she try on. She said she told him he should try it on instead, thinking he would put the bodysuit on over his pants.
Carroll told the jurors she agreed to go into a dressing room with him, thinking it was an amusing moment, “sort of like a Saturday Night Live sketch.”
She said Trump then “shut the door and shoved me against the wall. He shoved me so hard my head banged. I was extremely confused and suddenly realized that what I thought was happening was not happening.” She testified that she didn’t scream but instead fought to get away, even though Trump is much larger than she is.