E Jean Carroll raised her voice in exasperation in a New York courtroom on Thursday as she was repeatedly asked why she didn’t scream while allegedly being raped by Donald Trump – before the judge admonished the ex-president’s lawyer for his line of questioning.
During hours of tense cross-examination, Mr Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina peppered the 79-year-old former Elle advice columnist with questions about an alleged sexual assault in the dressing room of Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman in 1996.
Ms Carroll told how she was filled with adrenaline as she pushed and kicked back against the much larger man during the alleged three-minute encounter.
“I was in too much of a panic to scream, I was fighting,” she said.
When Mr Tacopina pressed the issue again, she replied: “You can’t beat up on me for not screaming.”
“One of the reasons why women don’t come forward is they are asked ‘why didn’t you scream’. It keeps women silent.”
Ms Carroll eventually raised her voice in exasperation, saying: “I’m telling you he raped me whether I screamed or not.”
Judge Lewis Kaplan became impatient with the defence attorney as he continued to probe Ms Carroll’s testimony.
“It’s argumentative, it’s repetitive and it’s inappropriate,” Judge Kaplan told Mr Tacopina.
Ms Carroll first went public with the alleged rape in a 2019 New York magazine excerpt from her memoir What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal.
She is suing the former president in civil court for defamation and battery after he said she was lying about the alleged incident, claiming she was “not his type”. Mr Trump, 76, has repeatedly denied the rape took place.
Ms Carroll told the court on day three of the civil trial in a Manhattan federal court she hadn’t intended to write about the alleged rape when she began work on her book.
But after sexual assault allegations against the disgraced filmmaker Harvey Weinstein became public in 2017, she decided she couldn’t remain silent any longer.
“I was not a pioneer, I am a follower,” she said during cross-examination. “I saw other women coming forward after Harvey Weinstein and I thought, ‘who am I to stay silent’. Also I was 78 or 79, I had been silent for too long.”
‘My biggest fears came absolutely true’
Mr Tacopina repeatedly tried to undermine Ms Carroll’s credibility after she had earlier testified in graphic detail about the alleged rape during a chance encounter with Mr Trump at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s.
He suggested the author had been motivated by financial gain and political ideology to finally come forward with the allegations.
“For two decades, Ms Carroll, you never told the police and never revealed the story in your hundreds of columns,” Mr Tacopina said.
She replied that she had been fearful of what Mr Trump, who was then one of the wealthiest and most famous men in New York, could do to her.
“I was afraid that Donald Trump would retaliate, which is exactly what he did,” she said. “My biggest fears came absolutely true.”
Ms Carroll initially sued Mr Trump for defamation in 2019, after he claimed in interviews and in White House press statements that the alleged rape didn’t occur.
When the former president posted on Truth Social in October 2022 that the lawsuit was a “con job”, she sued for defamation again.
This time, she filed an additional claim for battery after New York state passed the Adult Survivors Act, which allows adults who were sexually abused to sue their alleged attackers after the statutes of limitations have run out.
‘Wave of slime’
Earlier, under questioning from her attorney Mike Ferrara, Ms Carroll told how she would be inundated with a “wave of slime” every time Mr Trump commented or posted about her.
“It’s very hard to get up in the morning and receive those messages, that you are way too ugly to go on living.”
Ms Carroll said she had “peeked” at Twitter on Thursday morning, and was met with a familiar stream of abusive and threatening messages.
“There it was again the onslaught,” she said. “It’s not a great way to start the day.”
Ms Carroll added: “I like attention, there is no question. I don’t like attention because I’m suing Donald Trump, getting attention for being raped is hard.”
When asked why she had filed the first lawsuit, Ms Carroll said she had been asked in interviews by several journalists whether or not she would pursue legal action against the then-president.
The idea had “crystalised” when she met George Conway, the conservative lawyer and Trump antagonist, at a party at the author Molly Jong-Fast’s home in 2019, she said.
In her book, Ms Carroll also alleged she had been sexually assaulted by the disgraced former CBS CEO and president Les Moonves.
When asked her why she hadn’t sued Mr Moonves, she said: “He didn’t call me a liar.”
Ms Carroll said she was “stunned” when Mr Trump attacked her again in 2022, after she had filed the initial lawsuit against him.
The trial, which was initially set down for five to 10 days, is still on its second witness heading into day four.
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