E Jean Carroll denies politics and selling books motivated Trump rape allegation | Donald Trump
The advice columnist E Jean Carroll has denied that she falsely accused Donald Trump of raping her in order to sell books and for political ends.
On the third day of Carroll’s civil suit against the former president for battery and defamation, Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, put it to her that she made her allegation the centrepiece of a book proposal she was trying to sell.
Carroll is seeking damages for the alleged rape in a New York department store changing room in the mid-1990s and for defamation after Trump accused her of lying when she went public with her accusations in the book.
Carroll said she was motivated to speak up after the New York Times’ exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s crimes prompted women across the US to relate their own experiences of sexual assault and fired the #MeToo movement.
But she did acknowledge that she decided to sue Trump for defamation following a conversation at a party with George Conway, then the husband of one of Trump’s top White House aides, Kellyanne Conway, but a prominent Trump critic.
“George Conway does not like Donald Trump,” said Carroll, without elaboration.
Asked under cross-examination why she did not speak up when Trump was running for president in 2016, Carroll said it did not occur to her.
“I was never going to talk about what Donald Trump did,” she said. “Never.”
Tacopina confronted Carroll with a part of the draft of her book written a couple of years into his presidency that was not included in the final version but which appeared to indicate a political motive for her going public with her accusations.
“But now after two years of watching the man in action, I became persuaded that he wants to kill me. He’s poisoning my water. He’s polluting my air. And as he stacks the courts, my rights over my body are being taken away state by state. So, now I will tell you what happened,” she wrote.
Tacopina also focused on an email sent by Carol Martin, a key witness in the trial who Carroll said she told about the alleged rape shortly after the attack.
In September 2017, Martin sent an email critical of Trump: “This has to stop. As soon as we’re both well enuf [sic] to scheme, we must do our patriotic duty again.”
Carroll replied: “TOTALLY!!! I have something special for you when we meet.”
Asked what that something special was, Carroll said she had no idea but added that the two women often bought “funny gifts” for each other.
Tacopina put it to Carroll that she started the book only two weeks after the email exchange. Carroll said that was not true.
Tacopina also latched on to a chapter in Carroll’s book – entitled What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal – in which the author advocates for all men to be shipped to Montana “for retraining”.
Trump’s lawyer appeared to be suggesting this was evidence of an anti-male bent when the judge, Lewis Kaplan, waded in to tell him it was satire modeled on A Modest Proposal, the renowned Jonathan Swift satirical essay from 1729 which suggested that impoverished Irish people should sell their children as food to the rich.
“Move on,” said the judge.
Earlier, Carroll told the court about online abuse she received after accusing Trump and again when he posted messages on social media denying the accusations and accusing her of being a liar.
The jury was shown some of the messages, which included misogynistic epithets and other personal attacks.
Asked if she regretted the lawsuit, Carroll said: “About five times a day. It doesn’t feel pleasant to be under threat.”
Trump is not expected to testify. But he has claimed the encounter never happened, that he does not know Carroll and she is not his “type”. On Wednesday, he called the case “a made-up scam” and Carroll’s lawyer a political operative.
The outburst drew a warning. After Tacopina promised to speak to Trump, Kaplan said: “We are getting into an area, conceivably, in which your client may or may not be tampering with a new source of potential liability.”
Kaplan also told Tacopina to speak to Trump after his son Eric Trump tweeted criticism of funding Carroll’s lawyer received from a Democratic donor.
On Thursday, Trump was due to visit New Hampshire for a campaign event, his first visit to an early-voting state since pleading not guilty in New York to a 34-count felony indictment over hush money payments to Stormy Daniels.