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Trump to testify in defamation case against rape accuser

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American columnist E. Jean Carroll says former US president Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in a New York department store in the mid-1990s./AFP
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Oct 19, 2022 - 01:29 PM

NEW YORK — Former US president Donald Trump is expected to testify Wednesday in a defamation case pitting him against a prominent American columnist who says he raped her in the 1990s.

E. Jean Carroll, 78, alleges that Trump sexually assaulted her in a New York department store.

Last week, a New York federal court judge rejected a motion by Trump, who has denied the accusation, to further delay his deposition.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that Carroll’s and Trump’s depositions should be held on October 14 and 19, respectively.

It is not known if Carroll testified on Friday, and neither of the parties’ lawyers responded to comment requests from AFP.

Trump is expected to submit a sworn deposition from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, The New York Times reported.

Carroll on Tuesday shared a photo of her lawyer Roberta Kaplan on Twitter captioned “Carroll versus Trump,” and wished Kaplan “GOOD LUCK FOR TOMORROW.” She later deleted the tweet.

Kaplan, who is unrelated to the case’s judge, is a co-founder of the Time’s Up movement that provides legal aid to victims of sexual assault.

Carroll, a former columnist for Elle magazine, sued then-president Trump for defamation in a New York civil court in November 2019.

In an excerpt of her book published by New York Magazine that year, Carroll said she was raped by Trump in the changing room at the luxury Bergdorf Goodman department store on Fifth Avenue in New York in the mid-1990s.

Trump denied the accusation, saying Carroll was “not my type” and that she was “totally lying,” which prompted the defamation suit.

The case has been delayed by procedural battles, including whether Trump should be represented by the US government, since he was president at the time he made the statements.

According to several media outlets on Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers have always claimed their client was protected by his executive immunity, particularly for allegedly defamatory statements he made during his term.

Last week, Trump made new comments about the case on his right-wing Truth Social platform, mocking Carroll’s rape allegations.

According to legal experts cited in a Vice News report, Carroll could argue that Trump defamed her again — this time as a private citizen.

Judge Kaplan said last week that Carroll could claim damages from Trump for the alleged rape starting from November 24, after a New York state law comes into effect that allows survivors of sexual assault to file a civil suit regardless of the statute of limitations.

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