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E Jean Carroll suffered panic attack watching The Apprentice and now sleeps with loaded gun, trial hears

E Jean Carroll suffered a panic attack that left her unable to talk the first time she watched The Apprentice, a jury in Donald Trump’s civil rape and defamation trial was told on Wednesday.

Dr Leslie Lebowitz, a clinical psychologist hired by Ms Carroll’s legal team, testified that the former Elle columnist had gone to pitch a new TV show with a friend at an unnamed network when an executive showed them a clip from the Trump-hosted reality series.

“She became so flooded with memories, with a sense of panic, that she lost her capacity to speak,” Dr Lebowitz said. “The person she was with had to pitch the show.”

Dr Lebowitz was asked about Ms Carroll not being afraid in New York, to which the psychological expert said it’s because she feels comfortable and safe in the city.

But she added that in her cabin away from the city, she “sleeps with a loaded gun” because of worries about her security following her stepping forward with her allegation against Mr Trump, according to Law & Crime.

Ms Carroll had previously testified she was a “big fan” of The Apprentice but didn’t enjoy watching the conclusion where Mr Trump fired contestants.

“I had never seen such a witty competition on television,” Ms Carroll said under cross-examanation on Monday.

The writer said she had written a glowing Facebook post about The Apprentice because she wanted to “boost” two friends who were appearing on it.

Dr Lebowitz, a trauma specialist, said Ms Carroll had spoken about her admiration of The Apprentice during one evaluation, and it was likely due to “excitement” about the show in her social circles.

The psychologist said Ms Carroll showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder related to the alleged rape in a dressing room at luxury Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman in 1996, but fell short of meeting a diagnosis for the illness.

E Jean Carroll arrives at court in New York on Wednesday, 3 May (Associated Press)
E Jean Carroll arrives at court in New York on Wednesday, 3 May (Associated Press)

Under questioning from Ms Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, Dr Lebowitz said the writer had suffered intrusive memories when recalling the alleged rape that caused her to “squirm in her seat” during one evaluation.

She said that the memories intensified after Mr Trump began running for president in 2015, but had gradually faded over time.

Dr Lebowitz added that Ms Carroll’s “vivacious, playful and exuberant” personality would vanish whenever she was in the company of a potential romantic partner, likening it to a “metal grate closing over a shop window”.

Ms Carroll has previously testified that the alleged rape left her frightened of intimacy, and that she had not had a relationship since 1996.

The psychologist was also asked whether it was unusual that Ms Carroll had returned regularly to Bergdorf Goodman in the decades since.

“She didn’t feel like Bergdorf Goodman raped her,” Dr Lebowitz replied.

Under cross-examination by Chad Seigel, Dr Lebowitz said she had relied on Ms Carroll’s honesty in making her evaluation.

Ms Carroll is seeking damages for defamation and battery, alleging her reputation was “destroyed” when the former president called her claims a “con job” in a Truth Social post in October 2022.

Mr Trump, 76, has strongly denied the rape took place.