Day 7 of the Trump Rape Trial: Carroll’s Case Drawing to a Close

Lawyers for E. Jean Carroll, the writer whose lawsuit accusing former President Donald J. Trump of rape is on trial in Manhattan, are expected to rest their case Thursday after presenting their final witnesses.

At the same time, Mr. Trump again attacked Ms. Carroll, as well as the judge presiding over the trial.

Mr. Trump has thus far avoided the trial, but he said while he played golf in Ireland on Thursday that he might return to New York for the proceedings, according to a Reuters report. “I have to go back for a woman that made a false accusation about me, and I have a judge who is extremely hostile,” he said.

Ms. Carroll has testified that Mr. Trump raped her in the mid-1990s in a dressing room in the department store Bergdorf Goodman, an allegation Mr. Trump denies.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, has said in court that Mr. Trump would not be coming to testify and that no witnesses would take the stand in his defense.

Mr. Trump’s harsh criticism of Ms. Carroll on Thursday could draw the ire of the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court, who last week sharply criticized Mr. Trump’s use of his Truth Social website to call Ms. Carroll’s case a “fraudulent & false story” and a “made up SCAM.”

Judge Kaplan told Mr. Tacopina at the time that Mr. Trump’s statements on social media were “entirely inappropriate,” and he suggested Mr. Trump was seeking to influence the jury in the case. Judge Kaplan implied that Mr. Trump could face a contempt sanction.

After Mr. Trump’s son, Eric, later in the day posted his own statement on Twitter criticizing the motivation of a prominent backer of Ms. Carroll’s case, Judge Kaplan implied from the bench that more serious remedies might be called for. He seemed to suggest Mr. Trump might be violating a federal law that prohibits efforts to corruptly influence or intimidate a juror.

The attack happened during a visit to Bergdorf Goodman one evening in the mid-1990s, Ms. Carroll has said. As she was leaving through a revolving door, Mr. Trump entered and recognized her, she testified, and persuaded her to help him shop for a gift for a female friend. She said the former president went on to rape her in a dressing room in the lingerie department.

On Wednesday, Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, played for the jury clips from an October 2022 video deposition by Mr. Trump. At one point, he is asked whether he ever contacted Bergdorf’s after the allegation.

“I didn’t have to reach out to anybody,” Mr. Trump responds, adding that was because the assault never happened. “It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story,” he says. “It was just made up.”

Ms. Carroll testified that she told two friends about the attack almost immediately after she said it happened. One, Lisa Birnbach, testified earlier this week. On Thursday, the jury heard from Carol Martin.

Ms. Martin, a retired news anchor in New York, testified that she had become friends with Ms. Carroll in the 1990s, when they both had shows on America’s Talking, a cable channel run by Roger Ailes, who later became the head of Fox News.

Ms. Martin testified that one day Ms. Carroll asked if they could talk after work, which wasn’t unusual in their friendship, she said. They drove separately to Ms. Martin’s home, and sat in her kitchen.

“‘You won’t believe what happened to me the other night,’” Ms. Martin recalled Ms. Carroll telling her. “‘Trump attacked me.’”

“I was completely floored,” Ms. Martin said. She described for the jury how they spoke for an hour about what Ms. Carroll said happened in the Bergdorf’s dressing room.

Ms. Martin said Ms. Carroll never used the word rape, and that she instead said she had been fighting with Mr. Trump.

“It was a very disconcerting thing to hear,” Ms. Martin said. She said she advised Ms. Carroll not to tell anyone or to go to the police because Mr. Trump had a lot of attorneys who would “bury her.”

“I am not proud that that’s what I told her,” Ms. Martin testified. She said that she had been reluctant to be identified publicly as one of Ms. Carroll’s confidantes after the writer made her allegation public in a 2019 New York magazine book excerpt. Ms. Martin acknowledged that she had security concerns. “I had a real worry about the climate of the country,” she said.

But Ms. Martin said she was testifying because she wanted to “reiterate and remember” what Ms. Carroll told her nearly 30 years ago.

“I believed it then and I believe it today,” Ms. Martin said.

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