Judge restricts Donald Trump's testimony in E Jean Carroll's defamation trial.
On Thursday, former US president Donald Trump testified for the first time in a defamation trial brought by E Jean Carroll, who accuses him of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s.
Trump’s testimony was brief and restricted by Judge Lewis Kaplan, who ruled that the jury’s verdict in the first trial – which awarded Carroll $5m in damages – would be accepted as fact in this trial.
The defense lawyer, Alina Habba, asked Trump if he stood by his deposition, to which he said, “One hundred percent, yes.” She then tried to ask him if he denied the allegation but was stopped by the judge. Habba also asked Trump if he ever instructed anyone to hurt Carroll, and he said, “No, I just wanted to defend myself, my family, and, frankly, the presidency.”
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, asked Trump if he was aware of the previous trial and if he attended it, and he said yes to both questions. Habba then asked him if he had a lawyer at the last trial, and he said yes. She was interrupted by an objection when she asked him if he followed his lawyer’s advice.
The judge also admonished the former president for talking loudly and interrupting the proceedings, saying, “I never met this woman.”
The last witness for the plaintiff was Roberta Myers, a former editor of Elle magazine, where Carroll worked as a columnist. Myers praised Carroll as a “truth-teller” and a famous writer who received a raise for her work. She also said she met Trump once on an episode of Celebrity Apprentice, where she was an editor of Elle. She denied having a close personal relationship with Carroll.
Trump mistakes accuser for ex-wife
The trial resumed with the testimony of Lisa Myers, a former NBC journalist. Myers said Carroll never told her about her personal life or the alleged assault by Trump.
Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, tried to discredit Myers by asking her about her political views. She also questioned Trump about his wealth and his denial of the rape in a video deposition.
Habba inquired, “You weren’t a Trump supporter in 2016, were you?” She continued, “Or in 2020?” She added anxiously, “You don’t plan on voting for him in 2024, do you?”
One of the most shocking moments of the trial was when Trump confused Carroll with his ex-wife, Marla Maples, in a photo that showed them with their spouses at a party.
“At some point during the process, I saw it. That’s her husband, John Johnson, who was an anchor for NBC. Nice guy, I thought. I don’t know him, but he was pretty good at what he did. I don’t even know the woman. I don’t know who – it’s Marla.”
Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, pointed out Trump’s mistake, but he still had trouble recognizing Carroll.
Carroll’s team rested their case after showing the photo and other evidence to the jury.
Habba then called Carol Martin, a former news anchor and a friend of Carroll, as a defense witness. Martin had testified for Carroll in the first trial, where she said Carroll told her about the rape in her kitchen. Martin also said she advised Carroll not to pursue the matter because Trump had influential lawyers and would “bury her.”
Martin regretted giving that advice, but Habba hoped to use her testimony to doubt Carroll’s credibility.
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