Former President Donald Trump is being accused again of rape and battery by Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, who initially brought this litigation case to trial in 2019. She claimed in her memoir, published during Trump’s presidency, that he raped her at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan 27 years ago in the late 1990s. Trump vehemently denied by responding that Carroll was “not my type”, which provoked Carroll to file her defamation lawsuit, which now remains in the appeals court.
Carroll stated that this incident occurred when Trump recognized her in the store as “that advice lady” and asked for her help in choosing a gift for another woman. According to Carroll, he coerced her into the store’s dressing room, where he allegedly pinned her up against the wall with his shoulder and proceeded to rape her. She said she escaped minutes afterward and is currently seeking unspecified damages.
New York passed the Adult Survivors Act in November, which allows victims of any sexual misconduct to sue their abusers, regardless of the statue of limitations on the offense. This new legislation intended to support the #MeToo movement by giving women, such as Carroll, the opportunity to file a lawsuit against an alleged crime from decades ago.
The court assembled on Tuesday, April 25, and the former president did not appear. His attorney Joseph Tacopina presented his opening statement acknowledging the public’s disdain for Mr. Trump. He stated “there is a time and a secret place to do that: the ballot box”.
Trump has found himself in hot waters regarding his history with women since his presidency, where at least 16 women have come forward with sexual assault or harassment allegations against him. One of the most polarizing cases was his recent indictment for allegedly paying an adult film actress $130,000 in hush money to hide their affair.
While the former President has been scrutinized for his questionable interactions with women in the past, Carroll’s credibility for her accusations has raised suspicions over who is paying her lawyers and her potentially dishonest intentions. Trump and his lawyers argue that the Democrats are secretly funding her lawsuit in order to minimize his chances of winning in the November election if he decides to run. He defends that the interaction at Bergdorf Goodman never occurred and called the case a “big fat hoax” meant to derail his reputation.
The jury is also expecting to hear from two other women who also claim to have been sexually assaulted by Trump.
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