“I am here to get my life back,” said a writer, who claimed that Donald Trump had raped and abused her in a department-store changing room nearly 30 years ago.
“I am here because Donald Trump sexually assaulted me and when I wrote it down, he lied to say it never happened,” E Jean Carroll said in a federal courtroom in New York.
“He lied, and my reputation was ruined. I am here to get my life back.”
The former Elle magazine columnist, 79 years old, is seeking damages that are not specified from Mr Trump.
She took to the witness stand on Wednesday for her civil suit against the former US President. She testified about a chance encounter with him that, according to her, turned violent in the mid-1990s.
She said that after meeting Mr Trump in Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman store, they teased each other to try on some lingerie.
Ms Carroll claimed that they were alone in the changing room when Mr Trump pushed and raped his victim. She then fought back and fled.
She said she was angry with herself, feared being fired and feared Mr Trump’s retaliation if she told anyone about the “extremely difficult” experience.
She said, “I can still feel that feeling as I sit here today.” It left me unable ever to have a romantic relationship again.
When asked by her attorney if she told Mr Trump “no”, Ms Carroll responded “I might have said it, but I don’t know”.
Since Ms Carroll’s first accusations were made in her 2019 memoir, Mr Trump has denied that any rape occurred, or that he knew Ms Carroll.
He called her “mentally ill” and “nutjob” and said she made up the rape allegation to boost book sales.
“I am not trying to settle a political score,” Carroll said in the Manhattan courtroom.
“I am settling an old score with him because he repeatedly called me a lie, and that has really decimated my good name.”
Elle fired her after Mr Trump’s attack, which cost her 8 million readers. Others were convinced that she was a lie.
When asked if she regretted breaking her silence, she replied: “I have regretted it about 100 times. But in the end, being able get my day in Court is everything to me.”
Before the hearing began, Mr Trump-who is not expected testify-called Ms Carroll’s attorney a “political agent” and called the rape allegation “a made-up fraud”.
This is a false and fraudulent story. Witch hunt! In his Truth Social posting, Mr Trump said.
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District Judge Lewis Kaplan warned Mr Trump’s lawyers that if they continued to discuss the case, he would face further legal issues.
The trial includes also a defamation suit that Ms Carroll filed against Mr Trump for disparaging remarks made by him about her as a response to the allegations of rape.
The case is in federal civil court. This means that Mr Trump will not be sent to jail, no matter the outcome.
Donald Trump is running for presidentt.
In the past, these allegations would have been too old to be brought to court. However, in November, New York State passed a law that allows lawsuits to be filed over sexual abuse claims dating back decades.