E Jean Carroll reveals she was ‘shaken’ throughout Trump civil rape trial before ‘overwhelming’ verdict

‘I felt strong because I knew I was telling the truth and I just stuck to it,’ Carroll says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 10 May 2023 15:30 BST
Related video: Kari Lake accuses Trump jury of ‘witch hunt’ after damages awarded to E Jean Carroll

E Jean Carroll has said that her court victory against Donald Trump was “probably the happiest day of my life”.

The writer and magazine journalist appeared on Good Morning America on ABC alongside her lead lawyer Roberta Kaplan on Wednesday, saying that she was “shaken” during the entire trial, calling the moment the verdict was handed down a “wonderful, overwhelming moment”.

On Tuesday, a Manhattan court found the former president liable for sexual abuse and defamation. Ms Carroll, a former Elle advice columnist and SNL writer, was awarded $5m in damages.

Ms Carroll filed a lawsuit in November after her 2019 suit against Mr Trump ground to a halt in the courts.

The 79-year-old alleged that Mr Trump raped her in a fitting room at a Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s and subsequently defamed her when he made fun of her and rejected her claim last year.

Mr Trump also denied the claims while he was in the White House.

The jury in the civil trial didn’t find Mr Trump liable for rape but did find him liable for sexual abuse.

Ms Carroll told ABC News that she didn’t report the assault at the time as she was “too ashamed” and “blamed herself”.

In a social media post last year, Mr Trump referred to Ms Carroll’s claim as “a Hoax and a lie”.

“This woman is not my type!” he said at the time.

Ms Carroll told ABC News that she “only decided to come forward and tell what happened” and “thought that was enough.”

“And then he said terrible things about me. I was always shaken” during the trial, she added. “But I felt strong because I knew I was telling the truth and I just stuck to it.”

Ms Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan told ABC News that Mr Trump has no grounds to launch an appeal.

“He has no appeal,” she said, adding that the judge afforded Mr Trump “multiple chances to come to that courtroom and testify”.

“Donald Trump, like all of us, is not above the law,” she said.

Ms Carroll remembered holding her lawyer’s hand as the verdict was read.

“It was this 5-foot-3, wily, female attorney and this elderly, 79-year-old advice columnist who are finally holding Donald Trump liable,” Ms Carroll told ABC News. “It was such a wonderful, overwhelming moment.”

Ms Carroll also appeared on CNN, saying that “the old view of the perfect victim was a woman who always screamed. A woman who immediately reported a woman whose life was supposed to fold up and she’s never supposed to experience happiness again”.

“That was just shut down with this verdict, the death of the perfect victim has happened. Now this verdict is for all women,” she added.

Speaking about her reaction to the jury not finding that Mr Trump raped her, she said: “Well, I just immediately [said] in my own head, ‘Oh, yes, he did. Oh yes, he did.’”

When she shook hands with Trump attorney Joe Tacopina, she told him: “He did it. And you know it.”

“I’m really sort of taking in the moment and the overwhelming flood of a lot of hate that’s part of it,” she told CNN.

She added that she was feeling an “overwhelming amount of relief and joy”.

“There’s a sort of a feeling of victory that, at last, somebody has held him accountable in a courtroom,” Ms Carroll said.

Mr Trump took to Truth Social to vent his frustration about the case, writing that “This Clinton appointed Judge, Lewis Kaplan, hated President Donald J. Trump more than is humanly possible”.

“He is a terrible person, completely biased, and should have RECUSED himself when asked to do so. He quickly refused! This case should never have been allowed to be tried in this completely partisan venue, perhaps the worst for me in the Nation!” he added. “The whole Rigged Hoax is yet another TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE, a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt of all time!!!”

In a separate post, Mr Trump added that “it is not possible to believe that this woman, who I do not know and have never met before (except on a crowded celebrity photo line), could be credible or convincing to a Judge & Jury”.

In a string of 10 messages posted in a rant to the platform Truth Social on Tuesday, the most bizarre of the former president’s complaints was that the jury had not been told the name of Ms Carroll’s cat, Vagina T. Fireball.

“The partisan Judge & Jury on the just concluded Witch Hunt Trial should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for allowing such a travesty of Justice to take place. The ‘Dress,’ which played such a big [role] early on as a threatening bluff, but which ended up being totally exculpatory, was not allowed into the trial as evidence. Nor was her cat’s name, ‘Vagina,’ the racist name she called her Black husband, ‘Ape,’ getting caught in a lie on the political operative paying for this Hoax, & much more!” he wrote, also referencing an argument Ms Carroll wrote about in one of her books, in which she said she called her husband an ape.


Bevan Hurley contributed to this report

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