The abuse aimed at E. Jean Carroll after Donald Trump called her a liar continued long after he left the White House and “shattered” her reputation, the advice columnist testified Wednesday in a packed Manhattan courtroom as the former president glared at her from the audience.
“Hey, lady, you’re a fraud,” read one message Carroll received this week, she told a Federal Court jury.
The jury selected to decide the case on trial will determine how much Trump owes Carroll for defamatory statements he made in June 2019 after she first accused him of assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman changing room in the 1990s — the basis of the first lawsuit she filed against Trump when he was still president. Trump denied assaulting Carroll because she wasn’t his “type” and accused her of being a democratic operative who fabricated the incident to sell books.
“I’m here because I was assaulted by Donald Trump, and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened,” Carroll said Wednesday. “He lied, and he shattered my reputation.”
Asked what she thought Trump meant when he said she wasn’t his “type,” Carroll said, “It means I’m too ugly to assault.”
“To have the president of the United States, one of the most powerful persons on earth, calling me a liar for three days and saying I’m a liar 26 times — I counted them — it ended the world that I had been living in, and I entered a new world,” Carroll said.
Known for decades as a respected advice columnist for Elle, Carroll told the jury, “Now I’m known as a liar and a fraud and a wack job.”
Trump, who came face to face with Carroll for the first time in decades at jury selection Tuesday, showed little emotion as she walked the jury through their history, at one point shaking his head.
He was also muttering loud enough to hear as Carroll was testifying, one of her lawyers told Judge Lewis Kaplan during a short morning break.
“Mr. Trump has been sitting at the back table and has been loudly saying things throughout Ms. Carroll’s testimony,” Shawn Crowley said.
Crowley said she heard Trump saying: “These things she’s saying are false,” and that Carroll “now seems to have finally gotten her memory back.”
“It’s loud enough for us to hear it,” the lawyer said, and “probably loud enough for the jury to hear it.”
After the break, Kaplan told Trump to “take special care to keep his voice down when conferring with counsel so that the jury does not overhear it.”
Kaplan determined Trump was liable for defamation in September in light of the jury’s finding at the last trial. The defamation claim in that case stemmed from a Truth Social post in October 2022 calling Carroll a “complete con job.” Kaplan found Trump’s comments as president in the other lawsuit were substantially the same.
The case on trial stems from the first lawsuit Carroll brought against Trump years ago, which was delayed as he argued on appeal that presidents couldn’t be sued.
Wednesday’s proceedings got off to a dramatic start when Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, made yet another request to the judge to postpone Thursday’s proceedings so Trump could attend his mother-in-law’s funeral in Florida without missing trial. When Kaplan denied the request and told Habba to sit down, the defense attorney scolded the judge for his tone.
Trump is slated to take the stand as one of two witnesses for the defense. The other is Carol Martin, a friend Carroll confided in about the assault decades ago. He won’t be permitted to deny sexually assaulting Carroll or maliciously defaming her. He came to the trial Tuesday fresh off the heels of his victory in the Iowa caucuses, left for a rally in New Hampshire before Carroll’s attorney gave her opening argument, and was back in New York Wednesday morning.
Trump declined to attend the last trial with Carroll, when he had a chance to defend himself against the sexual abuse allegations. In addition to the litigation with Carroll, he’s facing four criminal cases in which he’s pleaded not guilty, and a slew of lawsuits.