Crime

Trump's lawyers try to poke holes in woman's recollection of rape

E. Jean Carroll faced cross-examination Thursday from former president Donald Trump's lawyers, who tried to discredit her memory.

Trump's lawyers try to poke holes in woman's recollection of rape
Elizabeth Williams / AP
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The former magazine columnist accusing former President Donald Trump of battery and defamation was back on the stand Thursday in her civil lawsuit trial, where she faced a tense cross-examination from Trump's lawyers.

At the beginning of questioning, Joe Tacopina asked if E. Jean Carroll had been "supposedly raped," to which she responded, "Not supposedly. I was raped."  

Detail by detail Thursday, Tacopina tried to poke holes in Carroll's recollection of the alleged assault, questioning her inability to remember the exact date she says Trump raped her inside a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-90s

The 79-year-old initially couldn't specify when it happened, but she now believes it occurred in 1996 because a friend she told about the incident published a piece about Trump in New York Magazine that same year. That friend is expected to testify later in the trial.

Several times throughout the cross-examination, the judge admonished Tacopina for "argumentative" and "repetitive" questioning.

Woman accusing Trump of rape takes stand in court
Woman accusing Trump of rape takes stand in court

Woman accusing Trump of rape takes stand in court

An advice columnist alleges former President Donald Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in 1996. He has denied the claims.

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In their opening statement Tuesday, Trump's lawyers accused Carroll and her friends of scheming to create a false story about Trump.

Tacopina was also quick to bring up Carroll's political beliefs and questioned why she didn't accuse the former president sooner, especially during the 2020 presidential race. Carroll previously said her mother died a month before Trump was elected and was in "deep, incredibly painful mourning."

She was also asked why she didn't call 911 after the attack and why she didn't scream. While raising her voice, almost yelling, Carroll said, "He'd rape me whether I'd screamed or not."

Carroll said she never planned to go public, fearing Trump would retaliate, but she credited the "Me Too" movement as the reason she eventually came forward.

Trump has denied all of Carroll's accusations, claiming she lied about the story to sell copies of her 2019 book.

Carroll is looking for unspecified monetary damages and wants the court to force Trump to retract a statement in which he called her a liar.

Tacopina said he's about halfway through questioning, which will resume May 1. Trump, who is making another run for president, is not expected to testify.