Trump Denies E. Jean Carroll Rape Allegation in Video Deposition Played for Jurors

From a Wall Street Journal story by James Fanelli and Corine Ramey headlined “Trump Denies E. Jean Carroll Rape Allegation in Video Deposition Played for Jurors”:

Donald Trump testified in a recorded deposition that writer E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegation against him was made up, calling her account “the most ridiculous, disgusting story.”

A portion of the video of the deposition was played for jurors Wednesday during a civil trial on Ms. Carroll’s allegations that Mr. Trump raped her in a dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan around 1996. The jury watched the video after hearing in person from a former People magazine reporter who said she was assaulted by Mr. Trump in 2005.

Ms. Carroll first went public about her own alleged assault in a New York Magazine article in 2019 and later in a book. Mr. Trump, who has previously denied the allegations, said in the 2022 deposition that he rarely if ever went to the famed department store. If he had raped Ms. Carroll, “it would have been reported within minutes,” he said. More of the deposition was expected to be played in court Thursday.

Wednesday’s proceedings included testimony from Natasha Stoynoff, the onetime reporter for People, who told jurors that Mr. Trump sexually assaulted her in December 2005 at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. Mr. Trump previously has denied Ms. Stoynoff’s allegations.

At times tearing up, Ms. Stoynoff testified that she was at Mar-a-Lago to interview Mr. Trump and his third wife, Melania, for a story about the first anniversary of their marriage.

During a break in a photo shoot, Mr. Trump took Ms. Stoynoff alone to see a room in the residence, she testified. When she walked into the room, he pinned her against a wall, she recalled.

“He was kissing me. He was against me, just holding my shoulder back,” she said, adding that she was too shocked to say a word but tried to push him off. The alleged attack ended within minutes, she said, when a butler entered the room to inform them that Mrs. Trump had finished changing outfits from the earlier photo shoot.

Ms. Stoynoff, an author and journalist who lives in Canada, said she continued her interviews with the Trumps after the alleged incident. When she returned to New York, she told her immediate supervisor at People about what happened, she said. Ms. Stoynoff said she never told any bosses higher up at the magazine because she was ashamed and feared the anniversary story wouldn’t be published.

“I was worried they would kill the story and Trump would try to get revenge on me,” she said.

Ms. Stoynoff went public about the alleged assault in an essay in People a month before the 2016 election. She said she was inspired to come forward after a video of Mr. Trump talking about groping women became public and after he said during a presidential debate that he never forcibly kissed women.

During cross examination, Joe Tacopina, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, asked Ms. Stoynoff only one question: whether she had brought any legal action against the former president. She said no.

Ms. Stoynoff was the second Trump accuser that Ms. Carroll’s lawyers called during the trial, part of their effort to establish their claims that Mr. Trump had a pattern of abusing women. On Tuesday a retired businesswoman testified Mr. Trump once assaulted her on an airplane. The former president has denied the allegations.

Mr. Tacopina said in court Wednesday that he didn’t plan to present a defense case to the jury after Ms. Carroll’s lawyers wrap up. Her team is expected to rest its case on Thursday, with closing arguments likely early next week.

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