Jury deliberations will commence on Tuesday in the civil trial involving former U.S. President Donald Trump and writer E. Jean Carroll, who accuses Trump of raping her over two decades ago and then defaming her by claiming she fabricated the story.
The trial, held at Manhattan federal court, has spanned seven days, with closing arguments presented by lawyers representing both parties on Monday.
Trump, who leads the 2024 Republican presidential field, denies raping Carroll, alleging that she invented the story to boost sales of her 2019 memoir where she first made her accusations public. Carroll, a 79-year-old former Elle magazine advice columnist, alleges that Trump, 76, raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan between 1995 and 1996.
She seeks unspecified monetary damages for the defamation claim stemming from an October 2022 post on Trump’s Truth Social platform, where he labeled her allegations a “complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie.”
Opting not to present a defense at trial, Trump is betting on the jury finding Carroll’s case unpersuasive. In her closing arguments, Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, cited a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video wherein Trump discusses grabbing women, which she argues supports Carroll’s and other women’s accusations of sexual assault by Trump.
Kaplan said, “He admitted on video to doing exactly the kinds of things that have brought us here to this courtroom.”
The jury heard testimonies from two of Carroll’s longtime friends, who claimed she confided in them about the attack shortly after it happened, as well as from two other women who accused Trump of sexually assaulting them in separate incidents decades ago.
Trump denies these allegations as well. Kaplan argued that Trump’s defense relies on jurors believing the “ridiculous” notion that the other witnesses conspired to lie.
In a video deposition played for the jury last week, Trump denied raping Carroll, calling it “the most ridiculous, disgusting story” and “just made up.”
Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, countered during closing arguments that Carroll’s vague account made it impossible for Trump to defend himself, saying, “With no date, no month, no year, you can’t present an alibi, you can’t call witnesses.”
Tacopina added, “What they want is for you to hate him enough to ignore the facts.”