Saturday , December 9 2023
Donald Trump

Jury hears closing remarks in Donald Trump civil rape case

A lawyer for a writer accusing Donald Trump of rape in a civil trial urged a jury to hold the ex-president liable for the alleged assault. 

“No one, not even a former president, is above the law,” said Ms Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, on Monday.

In closing remarks in New York, Mr Trump’s legal team accused E Jean Carroll of “bringing a false claim”.

Ms Carroll alleges Mr Trump raped her in a New York department store in the mid-1990s, which he denies.

The nine-member jury are due to begin deliberations on Tuesday morning in the civil rape and defamation trial against the former president after they receive instructions from US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is not related to lawyer Ms Kaplan.

The jury has been hearing arguments over the last two weeks in a Manhattan federal court.

In their closing statement, Ms Carroll’s attorneys focused on previous remarks Mr Trump has made about women.

Ms Kaplan pointed to Mr Trump’s controversial remarks in a 2005 Access Hollywood tape, which emerged publicly in 2016.

Referring to the comments, she said: “He kissed [women] without consent, he grabbed them, he did not wait.”

She argued the remarks had been a “playbook” for how he treated Ms Carroll and other women.

Ms Kaplan also said “self-blame” had kept Ms Carroll from going to the police for decades.

In his closing statement, Mr Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina focused on seeking to cast doubt on the details of Ms Carroll’s story, which he at one point called “a work of fiction”.

He questioned why Ms Carroll could not specify the date of the assault, arguing that stripped Mr Trump of the chance to provide an alibi.

It was “not a coincidence” none of the witnesses Ms Carroll had called could provide an exact date, he argued.

He also raised questions about the scene of the alleged assault, calling it “unbelievable” it could have occurred in a popular department store without any employees to witness it.

Mr Tacopina argued the story had been “ripped from the pages of Law and Order SVU”, referring to a 2012 episode of the popular crime show in which a woman was raped in the lingerie department of a Bergdorf Goodman store.

Ms Carroll has acknowledged her alleged assault occurred in the same place as the episode, which was released before she came forward with her allegation in 2019, but she said that was a coincidence.

“What’s the likelihood of that?” Mr Tacopina asked.

The former president did not appear at the trial in person but instead was present in a video of an October deposition played for the court.

“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story,” Mr Trump said in the video. “It’s just made up.”

Ms Carroll, 79, has accused Mr Trump, 76, of attacking her in 1995 or 1996, and then defaming her by denying it happened.

Jurors in the trial heard days of graphic testimony. Ms Carroll told jurors she had been left “unable to ever have a romantic life again” after the alleged attack.

A former columnist for Elle magazine, Ms Carroll was able to bring the civil case against Mr Trump after New York passed the Adult Survivors Act in 2022.

The act allowed a one-year period for victims to file sexual assault lawsuits in the state over claims that would have normally exceeded statute limitations.


Credit: The BBC

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