Trump will not testify in rape and defamation trial

STORY: Former U.S. President Donald Trump has rejected his last chance to testify at a civil trial, in which he was accused of raping and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll.

A judge gave him until Sunday to decide on taking the stand, but no application to appear was filed before the deadline.

Carroll, a former columnist at fashion magazine Elle, filed the lawsuit last year against Trump.

The suit claims he raped her in a dressing room at a department store in Manhattan, New York in the mid-1990s. She also said Trump defamed her by calling her rape claim a hoax, lie and "complete con job" on his Truth Social media platform, tarring her reputation and career by lying about it online.

The 79-year-old writer is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Trump’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina last Thursday told the Manhattan federal court that the former president had waived his right to testify. He also opted not to present a defense, gambling that jurors will not be convinced by Carroll’s case.

Still, District Judge Lewis Kaplan imposed a Sunday deadline, as Trump has previously told reporters he may attend the trial.

In a video deposition played for the jury last week, Trump denied raping Carroll because quote “she was not [his] type.”

“She's accusing me of rape, a woman that I have no idea who she is. It came out of the blue. She's accusing me of rape, of raping her, the worst thing you can do, the worst charge, ” Trump said.

In the deposition, Trump also accused Carroll’s lawyer, who was questioning him, of being a “political operative”.

Trump is currently the frontrunner for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination in 2024, challenging President Joe Biden’s re-election bid.

Closing statements from both Carroll’s and Trump’s sides are scheduled for Monday.