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Trump“s vulgar “Grab “em“ remark undermines denials, rape accuser“s lawyer says


A 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which Donald Trump says women let him “grab ’em by the pussy” bolsters the accounts of writer E. Jean Carroll and other women who accuse the former U.S. president of sexual assault, Carroll’s lawyer said on Monday.

During closing arguments in a civil trial over Carroll’s claims of rape and defamation, the lawyer Roberta Kaplan said the hot microphone tape showed Trump describing his “standard operating procedure” of kissing women without consent and then sometimes grabbing their genitals.

“He admitted on video to doing exactly the kinds of things that have brought us here to this courtroom,” Kaplan told jurors in Manhattan federal court.

In the video, Trump is also heard to say, “When you’re a star, they let you do it.”

Kaplan said, “He thinks stars like him can get away with it. He thinks he can get away with it here.”

Trump waived his right to testify at trial and opted not to present a defense, gambling that jurors will find that Carroll had failed to make a persuasive case. His lawyers were due to give their closing arguments later on Monday.

Trump has yet to attend the trial, which began on April 25, but told reporters in Ireland last Thursday that he “probably” would attend. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is not related to Carroll’s lawyer, said he expected jurors to begin deliberating on Tuesday.

Carroll, 79, filed her lawsuit last year against Trump, 76, claiming he raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in 1995 or 1996, and then defamed her by denying it happened. The former Elle magazine advice columnist is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021 and is the current front-runner for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination in 2024, has said Carroll made up the allegation to drive sales of her 2019 memoir.

Her defamation claim concerns an October 2022 post on Trump’s Truth Social platform in which he called her allegations a “complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie.” He has also said Carroll was “not my type.”

In a video deposition played for the jury last Wednesday, Trump denied raping Carroll.

“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story,” Trump said in the video, hunched over a conference table as Carroll’s lawyers presented documents to him. “It’s just made up.”

Carroll said during three days of testimony and cross-examination that during the attack, Trump slammed her against the wall, put his fingers into her vagina and then inserted his penis.

Two of Carroll’s longtime friends testified that she told them about the attack shortly after it occurred and said they believed her. Jurors also heard from two other women who said Trump sexually assaulted them in separate incidents decades ago. Trump denies those claims as well.

“Three different women, decades apart, but one single pattern of behavior,” Roberta Kaplan said, arguing that Trump’s defense was asking jurors to believe the “ridiculous” claim that the other witnesses conspired to lie. “He is asking you to take his word for it over the word of literally everyone else.”

Kaplan did not specify the amount of money jurors should award Carroll in compensatory and punitive damages. She said Carroll had been unable to sustain a romantic relationship since the alleged rape, and that Trump’s public criticism had harmed her client’s reputation, but said it was up to jurors to decide how much that was worth.

“For E. Jean Carroll, this lawsuit is not about the money,” Kaplan said. “This lawsuit is about getting her name back.”

Related Galleries:

E. Jean Carroll, former U.S. President Donald Trump rape accuser, arrives at Manhattan Federal Court for the continuation of the civil case, in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2023. REUTERS/David ‘Dee’ Delgado

E. Jean Carroll, former U.S. President Donald Trump rape accuser, walks at Manhattan Federal Court following a civil case, in New York City, U.S., April 26, 2023. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Former Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll watches as a former U.S. president Donald Trump’s video deposition is played in court during a civil trial where Carroll accuses the former U.S. president in a civil lawsuit of raping her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, and of defamation, in New York, U.S., May 4, 2023 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/File Photo