With Trump looking on, writer E. Jean Carroll brands him a liar

With Trump looking on, writer E. Jean Carroll brands him a liar

With Trump looking on, writer E. Jean Carroll brands him a liar By Reuters

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Published Jan 17, 2024 06:19AM ET
Updated Jan 17, 2024 10:41AM ET

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump and E. Jean Carroll attend jury selection in the second civil trial after Carroll accused Trump of raping her decades ago, at Manhattan Federal Court in New York City, U.S., January 16, 2024 in this courtroom

By Jonathan Stempel and Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -With Donald Trump looking on, the writer E. Jean Carroll told jurors on Wednesday that the former U.S. president destroyed her reputation and should pay damages for denying in 2019 that he had raped her decades ago.

“I am here because Donald Trump assaulted me, and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened,” Carroll said in federal court in Manhattan in her second civil lawsuit against Trump. “He lied, and it shattered my reputation.”

Last May, a different jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million, finding that he had sexually abused her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room, and defamed her in 2022 by denying that anything happened.

Carroll, a former Elle magazine advice columnist, said on Wednesday that Trump took away the reputation she once had for telling the truth when she wrote.

“Yesterday I opened up Twitter, and it said ‘hey lady, you’re a fraud,'” Carroll said. “Now I’m known as a liar, a fraud and a whack job.” Twitter is now known as X.

The latest trial has become a focal point of Trump’s 2024 White House run, with Trump using his Truth Social platform on Tuesday to unleash criticism of Carroll and the trial judge even after jury selection and the trial had begun.

Trump, 77, has often used his legal woes to rally supporters and raise funds as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination, calling the cases part of a political plot.

Wednesday’s trial concerns statements Trump made in June 2019, when he was in the White House, claiming he did not know Carroll and that she branded him a rapist to boost sales of her then-new memoir.

Carroll said his denials and the fallout led her to fear for her safety, as well as a professional reputation she had spent decades building.

She is seeking at least $10 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages.

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Trump’s legal team countered that Carroll invited criticism by accusing Trump of sexual misconduct, and suffered harm only from “mean things” that people posted on social media.

They also said Carroll has basked in adulation from supporters and attention from media outlets, even parlaying her case into working on a novel with Trump’s niece Mary Trump, who sued her uncle over her inheritance.

“Regardless of a few mean tweets, Ms. Carroll is now more famous than she has ever been in her life, and loved and respected by many, which was her goal,” Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said in her opening statement.

The trial is expected to last three to five days.

Trump had not attended Carroll’s first trial, but has said he now wants to testify.

Before Carroll’s testimony, Habba had a testy exchange with U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who rejected her renewed request to adjourn the trial on Thursday so Trump could attend his mother-in-law’s funeral in Florida.

“I will hear no further argument on it,” Kaplan told Habba. “None. Do you understand that word? Please sit down.”

Trump has separately pleaded not guilty in four criminal cases, including two claiming he tried to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

With Trump looking on, writer E. Jean Carroll brands him a liar

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