Attorneys for author E. Jean Carroll and former President Donald Trump made their closing arguments after seven days of witness testimony from Carroll, who says Trump raped her decades ago.
“Donald Trump has an agenda” of targeting women in “semi-public” places and “grabbing” their genitalia, Carol Robert Kaplan’s attorney said Monday during closing arguments in a defamation and battery lawsuit. But what Kaplan said is Trump’s “module,” which his attorney, Joe Taccapino, called a “distraction” from what he says is a lack of evidence to support Carroll’s claims.
Kaplan reminded jurors that for a battery charge, “all you need is that Trump attacked Carroll to find him liable ‘more likely than not,'” which is far below the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” , which applies in criminal proceedings.
Trump’s lawyers did not call any witnesses and he did not testify in court proceedings. Tacopino said that’s because “disputing (Carroll’s) history is our defense.” He added: “There were no witnesses to call.”
“Donald Trump has nothing to say except to say it was a lie,” Tacopina said.
Carroll says Trump assaulted and raped her in a dressing room at New York’s Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s, then blackballed her when she came forward publicly in 2019. Trump, who claimed he had never met Carol and “she’s not my type,” has flatly denied the allegations.
Those claims are at the heart of Carroll’s defamation arguments against Trump. The six men and three women on the jury watched the moment Video recording of Trump’s testimony when he was shown a photo from the late 1980s of him and Carol, he mistakenly identified Carroll as his ex-wife Marla Maples.
Carol herself testified during the trial, detailing her allegation, which was first published in 2019 in New York magazine as an excerpt from her book, What Are Men For?: A Modest Proposal.
Carol, then about 52 years old, said she ran into Trump, then about 50 years old, as she was leaving a store one evening. She said Trump recognized her by saying, “Hey, you’re that consultant lady,” referring to a column she’s written for nearly three decades. She said she replied, “Hey, you’re that real estate mogul.”
Carroll said Trump said he needed advice on a gift for the girl. She described the pleasant, “jocular” banter between the two as they walked around the store, even after he suggested they go into the underwear section.
But things suddenly turned around when they went to the dressing room, she said. Carol said Trump quickly closed the door and pushed her against the wall, her head hitting it. She said Trump penetrated her hand hard, causing severe pain, and then penetrated her with his penis. Carol said as she was able to wedge her knee between them pushing him away before walking away as fast as she could.
She described telling two other people about the alleged assault within minutes and a day later, friends Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin. Both were called to testify during the trial, giving statements that largely matched Carroll’s recollections.
Other witnesses called by Carroll included a clinical psychologist, two former Bergdorf Goodman employees and two other women who described Trump’s alleged assaults. Jurors also heard an “Access Hollywood” clip in which Trump could be heard crudely describing grabbing women’s genitalia.
Trump’s lawyers have tried to pick apart the allegations made by Carroll and others other women, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff. Attorney Jo Taccapino focused on Carroll’s failure to say exactly when, other than late 1995 or early 1996, the alleged assault occurred, and noted that she had not identified Thursday as the likely day of the week the assault allegedly occurred before trial.
Jurors heard testimony from a former Bergdorf manager who said the store was open late on Thursdays in the 1990s, though sometimes short-staffed — usually with a few shoppers or service staff near the linens department on the sixth floor.
Jurors were shown emails and text messages between Carroll, Martin and Birnbach that appeared to show their distaste for Trump, who was then president, while the defense tried to portray the trio’s efforts to use Carroll’s story to smear him.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberations Tuesday morning to decide whether Trump is responsible for the alleged assault and whether he defamed Carroll after she spoke out.