West News Wire: A woman’s legal complaint accusing Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her decades ago is focused on a “brief, brutal attack,” the woman’s attorney, E. Jean Carroll, told the jury as the trial began in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday. 

Carroll, a magazine journalist, accuses Trump of assaulting and sexually assaulting her in the changing room of upscale department shop Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s; Trump denies this and claims the incident “never happened.” Additionally, she is suing him for defamation after he called her accusations a “hoax” in public. She demands an undisclosed amount in monetary damages. 

Describing how Carroll and Trump bantered playfully before he allegedly assaulted her in the dressing room, Carroll’s lawyer, Shawn Crowley, told the 9-person jury, “the moment they went inside, everything changed. Suddenly, nothing was funny.” 

“Trump was almost twice her size,” Crowley said to the jury. “He held down her arm, pulled down her tights and then he sexually assaulted her.” 

Trump, who isn’t required to appear at the proceedings, didn’t attend the first day of the trial. His lawyer, Joe Tacopina, sought to portray Carroll’s claim as a “sick story” while also trying to reassure jurors that they could side with his client even if they dislike him. 

“You can hate Donald Trump. It’s OK,” Tacopina told jurors. “But there’s a time and a secret place for that. It’s called a ballot box. Not here, in a court of law.” 

“While no one is above the law, no one is also beneath the law,” he continued. “Politicians don’t make this country great, jurors do.” 

Carroll, Tacopina argued, was motivated by money and by politics. He questioned her claim that no shoppers or employees were around to witness the incident in the department store, and he emphasized that she couldn’t recall certain details, most notably the precise timing of the alleged attack. 

“You learned that E. Jean Carroll can’t tell you the date. She can’t tell you the month. She can’t tell you the season. She can’t even tell you the year,” he said. 

“Evidence will tell you that E. Jean Carroll can’t do any of those things because the story isn’t true.” Crowley focused on two key points in her opening remarks to counter some of those arguments: first, that Carroll’s account is supported by two friends she told at the time and by former Bergdorf Goodman employees who can attest to the store’s physical characteristics at the time; second, that Trump’s alleged assault of Carroll is a part of a pattern. He has been accused of sexual misconduct by over twenty women. 

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Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stynoff, two additional women who have accused Trump of sexual assault, are scheduled to testify, and Carroll’s lawyers have been given permission by the judge to use the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump braggingly claims on a hot mic that “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” adding, “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything” as evidence at trial. 

Trump’s lawyer, Tacopina, dismissed the significance of the tape, calling it a “lewd conversation from 20 years ago.” The tape was recorded in 2005 and became public in 2016. 

“It’s foolish, but it’s locker room talk,” he said. “It’s not an admission.” 

Crowley also seized on a statement Trump made in disputing Carroll’s claims that Carroll is “not my type!” 

First, Crowley told the jury, “we all know what that means: He was saying she was too ugly to assault.” 

Later in her remarks, she also argued that his comment was not only offensive but also a lie. Describing a portion of his videotaped deposition that Carroll’s lawyers intend to show the jury, Crowley showed jurors a black and white photograph of Trump with Carroll. 

“When Trump was shown this photograph at his deposition late last year, he looked at it, he pointed to it, unprompted, and he said, ‘It’s Marla! Yeah, it’s Marla, my wife,’” Crowley said, raising her voice. 

He mistakenly thought she was his second wife, Marla Maples, a former model who he claimed was perfectly his type. 

Testimony is scheduled to start on Wednesday, and the trial is anticipated to last one to two weeks. Trump isn’t anticipated to show up for the trial in the near future, but the court nonetheless gave a directive that seemed to be directed at the defendant who wasn’t present. 

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan instructed the attorneys to caution their clients against saying things that “inspire violence” in response to Trump’s recent comments encouraging his fans to protest the criminal charges that are being brought against him. 


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