In rambling and combative testimony at an October session in Mar-a-Lago, Trump reiterated earlier claims that he did not know Carroll except as an adversary in what he called “fraud” litigation, and said she was making up the story completely.
“I don’t know anything about her,” he said in response to questions from Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, according to court documents released on Friday. “I think she’s sick. Brain sick.”
The former president twisted Carroll’s comments in a June 2019 interview with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, in which she said he avoided calling his alleged encounter with Trump a “rape” because the word “has so many sexual connotations” and is a “fantasy” to many.
“I think most people think of rape as sexy,” she told Cooper, according to a transcript of the interview, explaining that she instead thinks of her alleged assault as a “fight.”
Trump cited the interview when telling Kaplan that Carroll “loved” sexual assault.
“She really indicated that she loved it. Okay?” Trump said in the deposition. “Actually, I think she said it was sexy, didn’t you? She said it was very sexy to be raped.
Kaplan then asked, “So sir, I just want to confirm: Is it your testimony that E. Jean Carroll said he loved being sexually assaulted by you?”
And Trump responded, “Well, based on her interview with Anderson Cooper, I believe that’s what happened.”
Carroll, an author and advice columnist, publicly accused Trump in 2019 of raping her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. She has two lawsuits pending against him in Manhattan federal court, the first for libel due to to Trump’s comments on 2019 destroying her and her account, and the last on the alleged sexual assault itself.
Trump has denied knowing Carroll, although he was photographed with her and her then-husband at an event decades ago.
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected an offer by Trump’s lawyers to dismiss Carroll’s sexual assault lawsuit, which was filed under a New York law that allows victims of assault to sexual process years later.
Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, said she would appeal the judge’s decision not to throw out the latest case. A spokesman for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign declined to comment further.
The DC Court of Appeals is considering whether the Justice Department can represent Trump as a federal employee, a longstanding legal dispute that has been heard by multiple courts and which could effectively end libel suits.
Kaplan has scheduled an April trial date for the cases.
During the 2016 campaign, The Washington Post got a 2005 recording of Trump bragging about unwanted kisses and groping on the set of the TV show “Access Hollywood.” Trump apologized for what he called “locker room pranks”.
Carroll’s lawsuits are part of a series of legal problems looming over Trump as he tries to recover from politics. The previous Friday, Trump’s company was ordered to pay a fine of US$ 1.6 million for tax crimes committed by two longtime executives following a conviction at trial in December. There is still a separate civil suit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, accusing the company of manipulating property values to gain tax benefits.
Trump is also under federal investigation for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and for his mishandling of confidential documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago, his Florida club and home. In addition, a special grand jury investigating election interference in Georgia has filed its report, which a judge will decide whether to make public and authorities will use to decide whether to file charges.
Since announcing his candidacy a week after the 2022 midterm election, Trump has avoided large public events, opting instead to host multiple galas at Mar-a-Lago and stream conferences via video. His campaign is planning a smaller-scale event in South Carolina later this month instead of one of his signature rallies.
Trump faced a rising chorus of criticism from Republicans who blame him for the party’s disappointing performance in the midterm elections, with former House Speaker Paul D. Ryan agreeing with a CNN interview on Thursday, calling Trump a “proven loser” .
Trump’s early announcement failed to align overwhelming Republican support or scare off other candidates like a handful of other potential rivals. keep making more open movements to launch their own campaigns. Some previous polls have shown Trump trailing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.