Trump sex abuse accuser E Jean Carroll set to testify in defamation trial over his denials

Writer set to take the stand again to describe how ex-president’s verbal attacks affected her after she came forward

Michael R. Sisak,Larry Neumeister,Jake Offenhartz
Wednesday 17 January 2024 09:35 GMT
APTOPIX Trump Columnist Lawsuit
APTOPIX Trump Columnist Lawsuit (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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Louise Thomas

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Less than a year after convincing a jury that former President Donald Trump sexually abused her decades ago, writer E. Jean Carroll is set to take the stand again to describe how his verbal attacks affected her after she came forward.

Carroll is due to testify Wednesday in the second federal civil trial over her claims against Trump, who denies them all. Because the first jury found that Trump sexually abused Carroll in the 1990s and then defamed her in 2022, the new trial concerns only how much more — if anything — he'll be ordered to pay her for some other remarks. He made them while he was president.

Trump, who is juggling court appearances with campaign stops as he leads the Republican field in this year's presidential race, sat in on jury selection Tuesday. Before opening statements began, he left for a New Hampshire rally.

He declared on social media Tuesday that the case was nothing but “fabricated lies and political shenanigans" that had garnered his accuser money and fame.

“I am the only one injured by this attempted EXTORTION,” read a post on his Truth Social platform.

But Carroll, an advice columnist and magazine writer, has said that Trump harmed her deeply. First, she claims, he forced himself on her in a dressing room after a chance meeting at a luxury department store in 1996. Then he publicly impugned her honesty, her motives and even her sanity after she told the story publicly in a 2019 memoir.

“He called me a liar repeatedly, and it really has decimated my reputation. I am a journalist. The one thing I have to have is the trust of the readers,” she testified in April at the first trial. “I am no longer believed.”

Carroll has maintained she lost millions of readers and her longtime gig at Elle magazine, where her “Ask E. Jean” advice column ran for over a quarter-century, because of her allegations and Trump's reaction to them. Elle has said her contract wasn’t renewed for unrelated reasons.

One of Carroll's lawyers, Shawn Crowley, said in her opening statement that the writer also received violent threats from Trump backers.

Trump attorney Alina Habba countered that Carroll was seeking to hold the former president accountable for “a few mean tweets from Twitter trolls.” He was “merely defending himself” in his comments about his accuser, Habba said in her opening.

Trump asserts that nothing ever happened between him and Carroll, indeed that he has never even met her. There's a 1987 party photo of them and their then-spouses, but Trump says it was a momentary greeting that ”doesn’t count.”

Trump did not attend the previous trial in the case last May, when a jury found he had sexually abused and defamed Carroll and awarded her $5 million in damages. The jury said, however, that Carroll hadn’t proven her claim that Trump raped her.

Carroll is now seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and millions more in punitive damages.

The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.


Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.

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