E. Jean Carroll faces cross-examination from Donald Trump’s lawyer : NPR

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E. Jean Carroll arrives in federal court in New York, on Thursday. The writer told a jury that Donald Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s.

Seth Wenig/AP

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Seth Wenig/AP

E. Jean Carroll arrives in federal court in New York, on Thursday. The writer told a jury that Donald Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s.

Seth Wenig/AP

NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s lawyer began grilling author E. Jean Carroll in court Thursday about a 1990s encounter in a Manhattan department store that he says ended with Trump raping her. — an account that she acknowledged contained some details that were “difficult to conceive”.

Attorney Joseph Tacopina facilitated Carroll’s cross-examination in a New York civil trial, challenging the validity of her bombshell claims while suggesting she only brought them decades later, in 2019, because of d – her disdain for Trump’s politics and because she wanted to sell. copies of her book.

Tacopina irritated Carroll by using the word “supposed” to cast doubt on her rape claim, drawing an immediate and severe rebuke from the writer.

“It’s not supposed to. I was raped,” she said.

“This is your version, Mrs. Carroll, that you were raped,” said Tacopina.

“Those are the facts,” she replied.

Tacopina has vowed to delve deeper into Carroll’s alleged meeting with Trump, in a dressing room at luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman, in what could end up being several days of cross-examination.

Carroll, 79, began testifying Wednesday and, under questioning from her own attorney, told jurors how a chance encounter with Trump at the store in the spring of 1996 turned from flirtatious frivolity in the desolate lingerie section of ‘violent sexual assault.

Carroll said Trump slammed her against a wall, pulled down her tights and raped her before he grabbed her and ran away. She never pursued criminal charges and said she would have kept the allegation secret forever if not for the #MeToo movement, which empowered women to speak out following sexual assault claims against former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2017.

The allegations against Weinstein emerged on the same day Carroll said she was embarking on a reporting journey for her book, which she originally envisioned as a tribute to women who stood up to abusive men. The cultural change changed the thesis of her book and later forced her to reveal what she said Trump did to her, she said.

“I was confused,” Carroll testified Thursday. She said she thought, “Wait a minute, can we actually talk and not get busted?”

“The light has dawned,” she said. The groundswell of women talking about sexual assault “made me realize that staying silent doesn’t work, that if we speak we have a chance to limit the damage.”

Trump, 76, has repeatedly claimed that the meeting never happened, that he does not know Carroll and that she is not his “type” — comments that are at the heart of the defamation claims in Carroll’s lawsuit.

Trump, who is scheduled to hold a campaign event Thursday in Manchester, New Hampshire, is not expected to appear at the trial. Jurors are expected to see parts of a video deposition he gave in the case.

Carroll’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a retraction of what she said were Trump’s defamatory comments. She testified that she is suing Trump “because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about him, he said it didn’t happen”.

Thursday’s Court session started late after lawyers joined the judge in chambers, discussing legal issues that were not immediately disclosed.

On Wednesday, Trump launched a counterattack against the trial on social media, telling followers on his Truth Social platform that the case was a “made up SCAM” and that her lawyer is a political operative.

The outburst drew a rebuke and warning from Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who called it “totally inappropriate.”

“What appears to be the case is that your client is basically trying to talk to his ‘public’, but, more troublingly, to the jury in this case about things he has no business with. -no business you are talking about,” observed the judge.

After Tacopina promised to talk to Trump and ask him not to make more posts, Kaplan warned: “We are entering an area, conceivably, in which your client may or may not tamper with a new source of potential liability.”

Later in the day, Kaplan again warned Tacopina to talk to Trump after the former president’s son Eric tweeted criticism of Carroll’s attorney funding he received from a wealthy Democratic contributor.

The trial stems from a lawsuit Carroll filed in November after New York state enacted a law allowing adult victims of sexual assault to sue their attackers even if the assault happened decades earlier.

The lawsuit contains one claim directly related to the alleged rape and a second claim stemming from remarks Trump made about Carroll’s claims last October.

Carroll testified that writing about her meeting with Trump in a 2019 memoir led to her firing from Elle magazine, where she had worked as an advice columnist for 27 years, and even brought her death threats, which led her to buy bullets for a gun she had in her possession. .

She said Thursday that a look at social media once the trial began revealed new insults against her as people labeled her a “liar, slut, ugly, old woman.”

“But I couldn’t be more proud to be here,” she testified.

The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they were sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll did.

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