E Jean Carroll testifies Trump shattered her reputation in m defamation trial

Connie Queline

E Jean Carroll testifies Trump shattered her reputation in $10m defamation trial

Reuters

E Jean Carroll has testified that Donald Trump “shattered” her reputation after she accused him of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s.

With the former president looking on in a federal courtroom in Manhattan, the writer said she wanted him to stop telling lies about her.

This is the ex-Elle columnist’s second civil defamation case against Mr Trump. She is seeking $10m (£8m).

Mr Trump has denied her accusation and continues to do so.

Last May, a jury found Mr Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation, based on his 2022 remarks about Ms Carroll, when he labelled her accusation a “con job” and “hoax”. She was awarded $5m in damages.

The current case focuses on different remarks – which the judge has already ruled were defamatory – that Mr Trump made while he was president in 2019, when he called her allegation “totally false”.

This second trial will determine additional damages.

Taking the stand as the first witness on Wednesday morning, the agony aunt behind the long-running Ask E Jean advice column said Mr Trump’s attacks on her had destroyed her reputation.

“I am here because Donald Trump assaulted me, and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened,” Ms Carroll, 80, said.

“I am here to get my reputation back and to stop him from telling lies about me.”

From building a 50-year career as journalist who wrote about life, love, sex and relationships, “now I’m known as a liar, a fraud and a whack job”, she added.

Mr Trump, 77, appeared to stare at Ms Carroll and listen intently as she sat on the witness stand.

During jury selection on Tuesday, accuser and accused were in the same room together for what appeared to have been the first time in more than two decades.

Though Mr Trump was deposed in the earlier trial, he did not attend in person or testify, both of which he is doing voluntarily in these proceedings.

Ms Carroll has said Mr Trump forced himself on her inside a Manhattan department store in the 1990s after a chance encounter with the property tycoon.

Her accusation was first published in New York magazine in June 2019.

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Wednesday’s proceedings saw a tense exchange between Trump lead attorney Alina Habba and Judge Lewis Kaplan.

The lawyer reiterated a request for the trial to be delayed so that Mr Trump can attend his mother-in-law’s funeral on Thursday rather than sit in court.

“The application is denied,” Judge Kaplan said, cutting off Ms Habba’s pleas and ordering her to sit down. “I will hear no further argument on it.”

Ms Habba said she didn’t “like to be spoken to that way”.

In opening statements on Tuesday, an attorney representing the plaintiff said the Republican president had “unleashed” death threats, rape threats and online vitriol that caused her client “to live every day in fear”.

Calling on jurors to assess both “how much money Donald Trump should have to pay for what he’s done” and “how much money it will take to make him stop”, Ms Crowley called for a “very significant” sum of damages.

But Ms Habba argued on Tuesday that Ms Carroll did not deserve damages because her accusation of sexual assault had made her famous.

“Evidence will show you her career has prospered and she has been thrust back into the limelight Iike she always has wanted,” Ms Habba said.

“She likes her new brand, and she has been monetising it for years,” she added.

Mr Trump, who also faces 91 felony charges across four criminal cases this year and is awaiting judgement in a New York civil fraud trial, is currently the Republican frontrunner for president.

On Monday, he scored a resounding win – with a record margin of victory – in the Iowa caucuses, the first of the state-by-state contests in the race to become the Republican party’s White House candidate.

Mr Trump is ramping up campaign appearances in New Hampshire, where the second contest takes place next Tuesday.

He has repeatedly said he “knows absolutely nothing about” Ms Carroll, including in more than a dozen posts on his Truth Social platform as he attended Tuesday’s hearing.

Mr Trump is expected to testify in the trial on Monday.

Related Topics

  • New York City
  • Donald Trump
  • United States

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