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Trump defames E Jean Carroll again in vicious attack at CNN town hall a day after $5m sex abuse trial verdict

Twice-impeached president mocks Carroll at CNN town hall just a day after verdict

Sravasti Dasgupta
Thursday 11 May 2023 17:16 BST
Trump digs in on election lies, attacks accuser during CNN town hall event

Donald Trump used his platform on CNN to lash out at E Jean Carroll just a day after a jury found that he had sexually abused and defamed the former journalist.

Ms Carroll, 79, sued the former president for raping her in a dressing room at a Bergdorf Goodman in New York in 1996, and then “destroying” her reputation when he claimed she was lying.

The jury didn’t find Mr Trump liable of raping Ms Carroll, but it found the one-time president more likely than not sexually abused Ms Carroll.

Mr Trump was also found liable for defamation and awarded her a total of $5m.

The twice-impeached president mocked Ms Carroll at the CNN town hall that aired just a day after the verdict.

The town hall has been severely criticised as divisive and even being “a volcano of bulls***” by commentators who accused the network of providing Mr Trump a platform for airing several dubious claims.

He described her as a “whack job” and called the trial “rigged”.

He was asked what he would tell voters who said the verdict disqualifies him from being president.

“Well there aren’t too many of them because my poll numbers just came out – they went up,” Mr Trump said to the crowd which, according to CNN, was composed of Republicans and undecided voters.

The former president also called Ms Carroll’s allegations a “made-up story”.

I swear on my children, which I never do, I have no idea who this woman – this is a fake story, a made-up story,” he said.

Mocking her, he said he was too famous to hang around department stores.

Ms Carroll had told the jury in her testimony that she and Mr Trump had engaged in playful banter after a chance encounter at Bergdorf Goodman one evening in the mid-1990s.

But after taking an escalator up to a deserted 6th floor to look for lingerie, Mr Trump led her to a dressing room, pushed her up against a wall and sexually assaulted her.

“I was very famous then and I owned the Plaza Hotel right next door and I owned the buildings around it – I’m not going into a dressing room of a crowded department store,” he said at the town hall.

He also reiterated claims he did not know Ms Carroll at all, and called the trial “rigged.”

“She wasn’t raped, OK? … And I didn’t do anything else either, OK, because I don’t know who the hell she is,” he said during the town hall, as the audience was heard laughing.

Earlier on Tuesday after the verdict, Mr Trump had falsely claimed he “wasn’t able to defend” himself in the trial after he rejected an offer to testify.

On Tuesday morning, the former president wrote on Truth Social that he was “waiting for a jury decision on a False Accusation where I, despite being a current political candidate and leading all others in both parties, am not allowed to speak or defend myself, even as hard nosed reporters scream questions about this case at me”.

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