Trump questioned under oath over rape accuser’s defamation case

Photo of E. Jean Carroll outside her home in New York state.
E Jean Carroll

Former US President Donald Trump has answered questions under oath in a lawsuit brought against him by an advice columnist who says he raped her.

E Jean Carroll alleges the attack took place in a New York luxury department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Mr Trump denied the claim and said Ms Carroll was lying, prompting her to sue him for defamation.

Ms Carroll’s attorney did not release details of the deposition, but said it took place on Wednesday. A civil trial in the case is scheduled for 6 February.

“We’re pleased that on behalf of our client, E Jean Carroll, we were able to take Donald Trump’s deposition today,” a spokesperson for law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink said.

“We are not able to comment further.”

Mr Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said in a statement: “As we have said all along, my client was pleased to set the record straight today. “This case is nothing more than a political ploy like many others in the long list of witch hunts against Donald Trump.”

It is unclear what Mr Trump said during the deposition, or whether he spoke in person or remotely. According to CNN, he participated from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

In a 2019 article for New York magazine, Ms Carroll – a longtime Elle advice columnist – said she had a chance encounter with Mr Trump in late 1995 or early 1996 at the department store Bergdorf Goodman.

She said she was helping him pick out a gift and the two of them ended up in a dressing room, where she alleges that he raped her. She says she was 52 and he was around 50, and Mr Trump was married to Marla Maples.

At the time, Ms Carroll also said she told two friends about the incident. One advised her to go to the police, but the other warned her to keep quiet, saying: “Forget it! He has 200 lawyers. He’ll bury you.”

Mr Trump quickly dismissed the allegation, accusing Ms Carroll of lying to sell her book.

She then filed a defamation lawsuit against Mr Trump while he was US president, saying his comments had harmed her reputation.

Mr Trump’s lawyers tried to delay the deposition, but Judge Lewis A Kaplan of the federal court in Manhattan last week denied the request. Mr Trump had responded to that legal setback by taking to social media to say “this ‘Ms Bergdorf Goodman’ case is a complete con job”.

More than a dozen women have previously made sexual misconduct allegations against Mr Trump, which he has denied.

Last month, Ms Carroll’s lawyers said she intends to sue Mr Trump a second time under a new law that gives adult sexual assault victims a one-time opportunity to file civil lawsuits even if the statute of limitations has expired. She plans to file the new lawsuit on 24 November, her attorney said.

This is the latest in a string of legal challenges facing Mr Trump. Mr Trump has denied wrongdoing in all cases.

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