In Rape Trial, Jury Must Now Decide if It Believes Carroll or Trump

Donald Trump's lawyers argued that the writer E. Jean Carroll had made up her story, but Trump never showed up for the trial and their lawyer didn't call any witnesses.

In Rape Trial, Jury Must Now Decide if It Believes Carroll or Trump

One of her attorneys focused on the man missing from the courtroom as the civil trial for the writer E. Jean Carroll’s claim that Donald J. Trump raped him neared its conclusion.

Mr. Trump didn't testify or show up to give his testimony.

Michael J. Ferrara told the jury that he had decided to not be present. He never looked at you and denied raping Miss. Carroll.'

He said, "You should conclude that he is the one who did it."

Joseph Tacopina said there was no need for Mr. Trump to appear in court. He said that the rape accusation was an invention.

Mr. Tacopina, who had been accused of sexual misconduct by women for years, took a firm stance during the two-week trial at the Manhattan federal court. This was the first time Mr. Trump (76), who has faced such allegations, has to face a trial.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer claimed that his client never entered the Bergdorf Goodman changing room where Ms. Carroll had said he assaulted her in 1996. Ms. Carroll and the witnesses who corroborated her story had made it up, Mr. Tacopina said. Other witnesses in the trial also claimed to have fabricated the story.

"Unbelievable," said Mr. Tacopina. Everything in this case falls into that category.

The jury will begin their deliberations on Tuesday after Lewis A. Kaplan has instructed them about the law. Ms. Carroll, who filed her lawsuit under New York law, which allows victims of sexual abuse to sue within a year, is seeking damages for defamation and battery. Mr. Trump, on his Truth Social site, had described Ms. Carroll’s case as 'a con job,' and "a hoax, and a lie."

The trial takes place as Mr. Trump is facing a barrage legal actions related his political and business activity, including federal, state, and criminal investigations, criminal charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney, and a lawsuit filed by New York's Attorney General.

The standard of proof in Ms. Carroll’s civil case is different than that of a criminal trial: the jury must decide if her lawyers have proven by a preponderance evidence that Mr. Trump has committed battery.

Roberta A. Kaplan's closing arguments Monday morning began with Ms. Carroll’s lead attorney, Roberta A. Kaplan. She took the jury through Ms. Carroll’s testimony, as well as the witnesses' statements she said supported it.

Two of Ms. Carroll’s friends, Lisa Birnbach (an author and journalist) and Carol Martin (a former TV host), each testified that she told them almost immediately following the encounter at Bergdorf Goodman that Mr. Trump attacked her.

Two other women also testified to the same assault by Mr. Trump. Jessica Leeds, an ex-stockbroker, said that Mr. Trump groped and kissed without her consent during the 1970s. Natasha Stoynoff was a former People magazine writer who said that Mr. Trump had lured her to a room in his Mar-a-Lago property, pushed against a wall, and kissed without consent.

Ms. Kaplan called the defense's claim that Ms. Carroll, her witnesses and all of them were lying absurd. She said that Donald Trump's defense is basically that there's a conspiracy against him.

Ms. Kaplan said that the way in which her client appeared at the trial - a courageous woman' who answered questions calmly and patiently - was similar to Mr. Trump’s behavior during a videotaped testimony shown to the jury.

In the letter, Mr. Trump said that he couldn't have raped Carroll because she wasn't his "type." But Ms. Kaplan pointed out in court that he misidentified Ms. Carroll as Marla Maples when she showed him the photograph of her greeting him at an event in 1980s.

She said: 'The truth was that E. Jean Carroll was Donald Trump's kind.

Ms. Kaplan stated that the experiences of Ms. Leeds, and Ms. Stoynoff revealed a pattern. 'Trump used this same playbook to attack Ms. Carroll in Bergdorf Goodman.

She also noted the response of Mr. Trump when she asked him in his deposition regarding the 'Access Hollywood" recording that became public in 2016. He boasted about grabbing women's genitals in the recording, which was made public in 2016.

In his deposition, Trump did not retract the comment. He said: 'Well historically, stars have been able to achieve this,' adding that he himself considered himself a star.

Ms. Kaplan said to the jury, 'He believes stars like him can get by with it. He thinks that he will get away with this here.

She continued: "Much of what Donald Trump has to say actually supports our case." Donald Trump is, in a real sense, a witness for himself.

Tacopina, for his part said that Mr. Trump did not need witnesses.


In his summary, Mr. Tacopina stated that Donald Trump had no story to tell, except to claim it was a lie. He asked, "How can you prove that a person is not a witness?"

He called Ms. Carroll’s lawsuit a scam and said she brought her false claim "for, amongst others, money, status, or political reasons."

Mr. Tacopina went on to question, in excess of two hours, not only the testimony of Ms. Carroll, but that and nearly all other witnesses who appeared before her.

He noted that Ms. Carroll was unable to recall the date of the alleged assault, but that she had come up a new detail - that the attack occurred on a Friday because Bergdorfs stayed open until late that day.

"She tailored her testimonies right in front you," Mr. Tacopina told the audience.

He rejected Ms. Kaplan’s argument that the comments made by Mr. Trump in the "Access Hollywood" tape showed him to be a predator.

'He said this, he said it, but that does not make Ms. Carroll’s unbelievable story credible,' said Mr. Tacopina.

In his cross-examination, Mr. Tacopina probed Ms. Carroll for contradictions in her account and gaps in memory. He also noted that, in her testimony she stated that she had not screamed during the attack.

Ferrara, in rebuttal to the jury, said Monday that the lawyers of Mr. Trump had a vision of the "perfect rape victims" -- someone who never laughed again, never tried to hold the rapist responsible, and never got their day in court. He said, 'The ideal rape victim screams'.

Ferrara stated that the defense view was out of date and out of touch. It is both offensive and wrong.