On a December visit to New York, writer E Jean Carroll says she went shopping with a fashion consultant to find the “best outfit” for one of the most important days of her life – when she sits face to face with the man she accuses for having raped her decades ago, former President of the United States Donald Trump.
The author and journalist hopes that this day will come this year. His lawyers seek to depose Trump in a defamation Carroll’s lawsuit against the former president in November 2019 after he denied his accusation that he violated her in a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s. Trump said he never knew Carroll and accused her of lying to sell his new book, adding, “She’s not my type.”
She plans to be there if Trump is impeached.
“I live for the moment to enter this room to sit across from him,” Carroll told Reuters news agency in an interview. “I think about it every day.”
Carroll, 77, former columnist for Elle magazine, is seeking unspecified damages in his lawsuit and a retraction of Trump’s statements. His is one of the two defamations case involving allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump that could move faster now that he has stepped down as president. While Trump was in office, his lawyers delayed the case in part, arguing that his office’s urgent duties made it impossible to respond to civil lawsuits.
“The only obstacle to pursuing the civil lawsuits was that he was president,” said Jennifer Rodgers, former federal prosecutor and now adjunct professor of clinical law at New York University School of Law.
“I think the judges will feel it’s time to take action in these cases,” said Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer.
A lawyer for Trump and another representative for the former president did not respond to requests for comment.
Trump is facing a similar libel lawsuit against Summer Zervos, a former contestant of his reality show The Apprentice. In 2016, Zervos accused Trump of sexual misconduct, claiming he kissed her against his will at a 2007 meeting in New York City and later groped her in a California hotel as the two met. to discuss employment opportunities.
Trump denied the allegations and called Zervos a liar, prompting him to sue him for libel in 2017, seeking damages and a retraction. Trump tried unsuccessfully to have the case dropped, arguing that as president he was immune from prosecution in state courts. His lawyers appealed to the New York State Court of Appeals, which is still reviewing the case. Zervos filed a motion in early February asking the court to take over the case now that Trump is no longer president.
Zervos and Carroll are among more than two dozen women who have publicly accused Trump of sexual misconduct that they say occurred in the years before he took office. Other accusers include a former model who claims Trump sexually assaulted her during the 1997 US Open tennis tournament; a former Miss Universe contestant who said Trump groped her in 2006; and a reporter who alleges Trump forcibly kissed her without her consent in 2005 at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Trump has refuse the allegations and characterized them as politically motivated.
In September, after several unsuccessful attempts by Trump’s attorneys to have Carroll’s case dismissed or delayed, officials in the US Department of Justice under his administration took the unusual step of calling for the government to be replaced by Trump as defendant in the case. Lawyers for the Department of Justice have argued that Trump, like any typical government employee, is entitled under federal law to immunity from civil suit in the course of his job. They argued that he was acting in his capacity as president when he said Carroll was lying.
Legal experts said it was unprecedented for the Justice Department to defend a president for conduct before he took office. When Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US Federal District Court in Manhattan dismissed this argument, the Department of Justice appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has yet to rule on this matter.
It remains to be seen whether Justice Department officials under the leadership of President Joe Biden, who took office last month, will continue to defend the case on Trump’s behalf. The White House and the Justice Department declined to comment.
If the appeals court upholds Judge Kaplan’s ruling, it would likely pave the way for Trump’s impeachment by Carroll’s lawyers.
Unidentified male DNA
Carroll’s lawyers are also looking for a DNA sample from Trump. Carroll says she still has the dress she wore when Trump allegedly attacked her.
“I hung it in my closet,” she says.
Carroll said she randomly crossed paths with Trump in the luxury Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. Carroll, who hosted a TV show at the time, said Trump recognized her. The two chatted, she said. Trump asked her to choose a gift for an unidentified woman, and they eventually ended up in the lingerie department. After asking her to try on a bodysuit, Trump closed a locker room door, pin her against a wall, unzipped her pants and sexually assaulted her, according to the complaint.
Carroll said she told two friends about the alleged attack shortly after it happened, but did not report Trump to police, fearing retaliation from the man. rich and well connected business. In 2019, Carroll took his story public in a New York magazine article.
When Carroll filed his complaint later in 2019, his lawyer, Kaplan, asked a guard to escort him to retrieve the dress from his closet for forensic testing. Analysis concluded that no semen was found on the dress, but DNA from an unidentified man was detected on the shoulder and sleeves, according to the January 8, 2020 lab report, which has been reviewed by Reuters.
If the dress contained traces of Trump’s DNA, it wouldn’t prove his guilt. But a match could be used as evidence that he had contact with the dress and to help refute his claims that he never met Carroll, according to two forensic experts not involved in the case.
“How her DNA ended up on that dress would be the argument,” said Monte Miller, a biochemist who runs a DNA analysis consulting firm and previously worked at the State Crime Laboratory of the Texas Department of Public Safety. “It’s up to the lawyers, the courts and everyone else to ask why he’s here and how he got there.”
Carroll said she was convinced the DNA in the dress belonged to Trump and wanted her day in court. She said she now sleeps with a gun next to her bed because she has received death threats since publicly accusing Trump.
“This libel lawsuit is not about me,” said Carroll, who regularly meets with other women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. These are all women “who cannot speak”.