People like Trump think they can get away with rape: Survivor's lawyer during closing arguments

Former Elle magazine advice columnist E Jean Carroll watches as former US president Donald Trump's video deposition is played in court during a civil trial in New York, May 4, 2023 in this courtroom sketch. Photo: Reuters

New York: A lawyer for E Jean Carroll, the writer accusing Donald Trump of raping and later defaming her, told jurors on Monday that the former US president's own words about his treatment of women lent credibility to Carroll's case.

During closing arguments in a civil trial in Manhattan federal court the lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, reminded jurors of a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape they saw during the trial in which Trump bragged on a hot microphone about grabbing women "by the pussy" and that "when you're a star, they let you do it."

"He grabbed her, using his words, 'by the pussy,'" Kaplan said. "He thinks stars like him can get away with it. He thinks he can get away with it here."

Trump opts not to present defense

Trump waived his right to testify at trial and opted not to present a defense, gambling that jurors will find that Carroll had failed to make a persuasive case. His lawyers were due to give their closing arguments later on Monday.

Trump has yet to attend the trial, which began on April 25, but told reporters in Ireland last Thursday that he "probably" would attend. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is not related to Carroll's lawyer, said he expected jurors to begin deliberating on Tuesday.

Carroll, 79, filed her lawsuit last year against Trump, 76, claiming he raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in 1995 or 1996, and then defamed her by denying it happened. The former Elle magazine advice columnist is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021 and is the current front-runner for the Republican US presidential nomination in 2024, has said Carroll made up the allegation to drive sales of her 2019 memoir.

Her defamation claim concerns an October 2022 post on Trump's Truth Social platform in which he called her allegations a "complete con job" and "a Hoax and a lie." He has also said Carroll was "not my type."

Carroll said during three days of testimony and cross-examination that during the alleged attack, Trump slammed her against the wall, put his fingers into her vagina and then inserted his penis.

At trial, her lawyers showed jurors a videotape of Trump giving a deposition in which he is shown a picture of him and Carroll together at an event. In the video, Trump is seen mistaking Carroll for his former wife, Marla Maples.

"The truth is that E Jean Carroll, a former cheerleader and Miss Indiana, was exactly Donald Trump's type," Kaplan, Carroll's lawyer, said during closing arguments. "Donald Trump here is a witness against himself."

Two of Carroll's longtime friends testified that she told them about the attack shortly after it occurred and said they believed her. Jurors also heard from two other women who said Trump sexually assaulted them in separate alleged incidents decades ago. Trump denies those claims as well.

In a video deposition played for the jury last Wednesday, Trump denied raping Carroll.

"It's the most ridiculous, disgusting story," Trump said in the video, hunched over a conference table as Carroll's lawyers presented documents to him. "It's just made up."

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