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Former US president Donald Trump pauses while speaking at a rally at the Minden Tahoe Airport in Nevada on October 8. Photo: AP

Donald Trump deposed in defamation suit filed by rape accuser E. Jean Carroll

  • The writer’s lawyers had a chance to question the ex-US president under oath about allegations that he assaulted Carroll in the mid-1990s
  • A judge rejected Trump’s request for yet another delay, saying he couldn’t ‘run the clock out’ on the plaintiff’s bid in a case that has gone on for years
Donald Trump

Former US president Donald Trump answered questions under oath on Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll, a magazine columnist who says the Republican raped her in the mid-1990s in a department store dressing room.

The deposition gave Carroll’s lawyers a chance to interrogate Trump about the assault allegations as well as statements he made in 2019 when she told her story publicly for the first time.

Details on how the deposition went were not immediately disclosed.

“We’re pleased that on behalf of our client, E. Jean Carroll, we were able to take Donald Trump’s deposition today. We are not able to comment further,” said a spokesperson for the law firm representing her, Kaplan Hecker & Fink.

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Trump has said Carroll’s rape allegation is “a hoax and a lie”.

His legal team worked for years to delay his deposition in the lawsuit, which was filed when he was still president. A federal judge last week rejected Trump’s request for another delay, saying he couldn’t “run the clock out on plaintiff’s attempt to gain a remedy for what allegedly was a serious wrong”.

Carroll was to have been questioned by Trump’s lawyers last Friday. Neither her lawyers and nor Trump’s have responded to questions about how that deposition went.

Anything Trump said during his deposition could potentially be used as evidence in a coming civil trial. He has not faced any criminal charges related to Carroll’s allegations and any prosecution is unlikely. The deadline for criminal charges over sexual assaults that occurred in the 1990s has long expired.

Columnist E. Jean Carroll leaves federal court in New York in February. Photo: AP

Similar legal deadlines also applied to civil lawsuits over sexual assault. As a result, Carroll chose to sue Trump for defamation over comments he made in 2019 when he denied any wrongdoing.

She maintains his denials and attacks on her credibility and character damaged her reputation.

However, New York lawmakers recently gave survivors of sexual violence a one-year window to sue their attackers over old assaults.

Carroll’s lawyer has told the court she intends to file such a suit against Trump after that window opens in late November.

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According to Carroll’s account, she bumped into Trump as the two were shopping at the Bergdorf Goodman store across Fifth Avenue from Trump Tower. At the time, Carroll was on television as the host of an advice programme, Ask E. Jean.

She said the two engaged in friendly banter as she tried to help him pick out a gift. But when they were briefly alone in a dressing room, she said he pulled down her tights and raped her.

In a recent statement, Trump called that story “a complete con job”.

“I don’t know this woman, have no idea who she is, other than it seems she got a picture of me many years ago, with her husband, shaking my hand on a reception line at a celebrity charity event,” Trump said.