E. Jean Carroll was “exactly” Donald Trump’s type, and the former president didn’t show up at her civil trial accusing him of rape because “he knows what he did” to her, her attorney alleged in closing arguments Monday in Manhattan federal court.
Speaking to the six-man, three-woman jury, Roberta Kaplan played a video of the former president’s October deposition in the case, where he looked at a picture of Carroll from the late 1980s and identified it as a photo of Marla Maples, his second wife.
Trump had said in his deposition and in public statements after Carroll accused him of sexually assaulting her in a Manhattan department store that he wouldn’t have done so because she was “not my type.”
“In other words, she wasn’t attractive enough to sexually assault,” Kaplan told the jury.
After his lawyer pointed out the mistake about who was in the photo, Trump said the picture was “blurry.” Kaplan displayed it for the jury. “It’s not at all blurry,” she said, and Carroll was “exactly his type.”
She also played jurors a portion of the notorious “Access Hollywood” video, in which Trump was caught on a hot mic saying he kisses and gropes women without their consent because “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
“He is telling you, in his own words, his modus operandi, his M.O.,” Kaplan said.
She then played a portion of the deposition where she’d asked him about whether his comment about stars was true.
“Well, that’s what — if you look over the last million years, I guess that’s been largely true. Not always, but largely true. Unfortunately or fortunately,” Trump said.
Kaplan told the jury, “He actually used the word ‘fortunately’ describing sexual assault.”
“Who would say fortunately?” the lawyer added. “Someone who thinks they are a star. He thinks stars like him can get away with it.”
Carroll is suing Trump for battery stemming from the alleged rape inside a dressing room in the Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s, and for defamation for claiming she was perpetrating a hoax after she came forward with her allegations in 2019.
Trump has denied Carroll’s sexual assault allegation and maintains he didn’t defame her because he was telling the truth.
Trump decided not to testify in the case, and his lawyers did not present any witnesses, which Kaplan noted to the jury. Trump did not show up, she said, because he “knows what he did.”
Trump defense’s closing arguments
The former president’s attorney Joe Tacopina told the jury that Trump denied attacking Carroll under oath during his deposition, and noted that Carroll’s attorneys could have called Trump to testify, but chose not to do so.
He said Carroll’s vagueness about the timing of the alleged attack — she had said she thought it was sometime in 1995 or 1996 before testifying it happened on an unspecified evening in the latter — made it difficult for his client to defend himself.
“How do you prove a negative, how do you prove you didn’t do it?” Tacopina asked the jury. “Where were you on some unknown date, some 20 years ago?” he continued.
He said it was “not a coincidence” that Carroll and the two friends who testified she told them about the attack at the time, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, couldn’t pin down an exact time frame. “They don’t want to give Donald Trump an opportunity to defend himself,” Tacopina said.
He contended that Carroll made up the claim, and suggested she was inspired by a 2012 episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” that mentioned a rape fantasy in a dressing room in the lingerie department at Bergdorf Goodman. That’s the same location Carroll alleged Trump raped her after they shopped together at the store.
“Are you kidding me?” Tacopina asked the jury, noting that Carroll, who said she had not seen the episode, said it was an “astonishing” coincidence.
“The whole story is an unbelievable work of fiction,” he said.
Tacopina alleged Carroll was motivated by “political hatred” and that her “outrageous” story is “not worthy of your belief.”
“She was not raped at Bergdorf Goodman and was not defamed,” he said. “I ask you all to please have the courage to do what is right.”
In her closing, Kaplan noted that Birnbach, who was in the courtroom for the remarks, and Martin had supported her client’s story under oath. She said that Carroll’s contention that Trump would attack her in a semi-public place was supported by two other women who testified, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff.
Leeds testified that Trump groped her on a plane in the 1970s, and Stoynoff testified that Trump had forced her up against a wall and started kissing her at his Mar-a-Lago resort while other people were close by in 2005.
Trump denied those allegations, as well. Kaplan said Trump’s version of events calls for a large conspiracy with multiple people lying under oath.
“There is one person who is lying and that person is Donald Trump,” she said.
Kaplan did not ask for a specific money amount from the jury.
“For E. Jean Carroll, this is not about the money,” Kaplan told them, but “about getting her name back.”