At first, she thought helping Donald Trump shop for a women’s lingerie gift at a luxury department store would simply be “a funny New York thing.”
Even when, according to E. Jean Carroll, the then-businessman motioned her to a dressing room as they dared each other to try on a see-through bodysuit, she imagined something like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch she’d written.
But within minutes, “my whole reason for being alive in that moment was to get out of that room,” Carroll testified Wednesday in the trial of her rape lawsuit.
“I’m here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen. He lied and shattered my reputation, and I’m here to try and get my life back,” Carroll told jurors.
From afar, Trump repeated his insistence that Carroll’s allegation of the 1996 rape is utter fiction, writing on his social media site that the case “is a made-up scam,” and more.
“This is a fraudulent & false story — Witch Hunt!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. His comments prompted the judge to warn Trump’s lawyers that he could bring more legal problems upon himself.
Trump hasn’t attended the trial thus far, but his lawyers said Tuesday it’s still possible he could decide to testify.
The trial comes as Trump again seeks the Republican nomination for president, and weeks after he pleaded not guilty to unrelated criminal charges that involve payments made to silence a porn actor who said she had a sexual encounter with him.
Carroll, 79, testified that she crossed paths with Trump at the revolving door to Bergdorf Goodman on an unspecified Thursday evening in spring 1996. At the time, she was writing a long-running advice column in Elle magazine, having also written for “SNL.” Trump was a real estate magnate and social figure in New York.
She said he asked her advice about selecting a gift for a woman, and she was delighted to oblige. As an advice columnist, to have Trump ask for guidance “was a wonderful prospect,” and Carroll figured she would end up with a funny story, she said.
She testified that she suggested a hat, but he pivoted to lingerie, and soon they were bantering about the bodysuit. Amused and flirting with him, she went along, laughing even as he closed the door to the dressing room, perhaps even as he pushed her against a wall.
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