E. Jean Carroll Isn’t Taking Shit From Trump’s Lawyers
E. Jean Carroll was steadfast in the face of cross-examination from Donald Trump’s attorneys during the second day of testimony in her civil trial against the former president on Thursday.
“You were supposedly raped?” asked Joe Tacopina, one of Trump’s lawyers.
“Not ‘supposedly,’” Carroll responded. “I was raped.”
“Those are the facts,” Carroll added when Tacopina countered that her description was simply her “version” of events.
In 2019, Carroll accused Trump of having sexually assaulted her in the dressing room of a New York department store sometime in the ‘90s. She sued Trump for defamation later that year after he denied the allegation and attacked her publicly. Trump was deposed in the case last October, and Carroll filed a second lawsuit, suing Trump for battery under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, last November.
In another tense moment during questioning on Thursday, Tacopina asked Carroll why she hadn’t screamed during the assault. “I’m not a screamer, ” Carroll replied. “You can’t beat up on me for not screaming.”
She added that questions like that were part of the reason survivors of sexual assault have trouble coming forward. “Women don’t come forward,” she said. “One of the reasons they don’t come forward is because they’re always asked, ‘Why didn’t you scream?’ I’m telling you — He raped me whether I screamed or not.”
“Go right on … I don’t need an excuse for not screaming,” she concluded,when asked by Tacopina if she “needed a minute” to compose herself.
Carroll told the court in her testimony that the #MeToo movement, and the allegations against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, motivated her to come forward with her own story. “It caused me to realize that staying silent does not work.”
Carroll also explained on Wednesday why she had moved to sue Trump. “When I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen. He lied and shattered my reputation, and I’m here to try and get my life back,” she said.
She added that her experience in the dressing room with Trump haunted her for years. “When you ask me what I did in that moment,” Carroll said, fighting back tears, “I always think — I always think of why I walked in there to get myself in that situation. But I’m proud to say I did get out, I got my knee up and pushed him back.”
For years, she said, the fear of backlash from the former president kept her silent. “I was frightened of Donald Trump. I thought he would retaliate and I was ashamed. I thought it was my fault.”
Trump did exactly that when Carroll came forward with her allegations. The former president called her story a “hoax” and defended himself by asserting that Carroll was “not his type.”
Trump has yet to provide his own testimony, and is expected to make an in-court appearance. Judge Lewis Kaplan previously denied a request from Trump’s attorney’s seeking to exempt the former president from physically taking the stand, citing logistical and security concerns. “If the Secret Service can protect him at [his rallies],” Kaplan said, “certainly the Secret Service, the Marshals Service, and the City of New York can see to his security in this very secure federal courthouse.”
While Trump has not yet made his appearance in court, he is commenting on the case on social media. Before Carroll took the stand Wednesday he called her lawyer a “political operative” on Truth Social and alleged the case “a fraudulent & false story — Witch Hunt!”
The outburst earned Trump’s lawyers a rebuke from Judge Kaplan, who called the defendant’s conduct “entirely inappropriate.”