According to ABC News, during the opening statements of E. Jean Carroll’s defamation and battery case against former President Donald Trump, the attorney for the writer recounted the alleged incident that occurred in 1996 at the Bergdorf Goodman department store. Carroll’s lawyer, Shawn Crowley, informed the jury that Trump “banged the door closed and lunged at her,” causing Carroll to be shocked and traumatized.
However, Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, argued that Carroll’s claims were baseless and an “affront to justice,” suggesting that she filed the lawsuit “for money, for political reasons and for status.” Carroll initially filed the lawsuit in November, alleging that Trump defamed her in a post on the Truth Social platform by calling her allegations “a hoax and a lie,” and stating, “This woman is not my type!” when he denied her claims that he raped her in the Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s.
Furthermore, Carroll added a charge of battery under a recently adopted New York law that allows adult survivors of sexual abuse to sue their alleged attacker, regardless of the statute of limitations. Crowley took the jury back to the evening of the incident in 1996 when Carroll ran into Trump at the department store. She revealed that Trump was a famous New York City personality, with his name on several buildings and his face in the tabloids. On the other hand, Carroll was a well-known writer, and when Trump asked for her help selecting a gift, she agreed, thinking it would make for an interesting story.
As the pair moved through the store, they joked and laughed before eventually arriving at the lingerie department on the sixth floor. It was here that Trump allegedly threw a lace bodysuit at Carroll and asked her to try it on. He then led her by the arm to the dressing room, where he allegedly lunged at her. Crowley asserted that Carroll was taken aback and was shocked by Trump’s behavior.
In 2019, when Carroll decided to write about the incident, Trump’s response was explosive, and he publicly accused her of lying, leading to widespread media attention. According to Crowley, “the most powerful person in the world had branded her a liar.” Tacopina implored the jury to recognize that they could dislike Trump, but the appropriate place to express those feelings was at the ballot box and not in a court of law. He further argued that Carroll was abusing the system and that the jury should not let her profit from this process.