WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.
Questioned for a lawsuit, former U.S. president Donald Trump angrily hurled insults and threatened to sue the columnist who accused him of raping her in a department store in the 1990s, according to excerpts of his videotaped testimony unsealed by a court on Friday.
Portions of Trump’s five and a half hour October deposition in a lawsuit filed by columnist E. Jean Carroll were released publicly after a federal judge rejected requests by his lawyers for it to remain sealed.
“She said that I did something to her that never took place. There was no anything. I know nothing about this nut job,” he said, according to the transcript.
The excerpts reveal a contentious battle between Trump and Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll, who questioned him as Trump called the former longtime Elle magazine columnist the perpetrator of “a complete scam” in which she described the rape as she “was promoting a really crummy book.”
Trump threatened to sue accuser
“I will sue her after this is over, and that’s the thing I really look forward to doing. And I’ll sue you, too,” Trump told Kaplan.
The release of excerpts from the deposition came the same day as Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, unrelated to the lawyer, also refused a request by Trump’s attorneys to toss out two lawsuits by Carroll alleging defamation and rape. An April trial is planned.
Trump has repeatedly said the encounter with Carroll in the mid-1990s at an upscale Manhattan department store never happened.
In his testimony, he repeatedly attacked Carroll’s depiction of him as a rapist.
Trump said he knew it wasn’t “politically correct” to say “she’s not my type” when he responded to claims shortly after Carroll’s 2019 book was published.
The writer alleged she was attacked by Trump in a dressing room after they had a chance meeting in the store and she agreed to help him pick out lingerie for a friend.
“But I’ll say it anyway,” he said. “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 raping her, the worst thing you can do, the worst charge.”
Speaking to her attorney, he said: “And you know it’s not true, too. You’re a political operative also. You’re a disgrace. But she’s accusing me and so are you of rape, and it never took place.”
Trump’s mischaracterization of Caplan’s CNN interview
At one point in the deposition, Trump called Carroll “sick, mentally sick.”
He mischaracterized an interview Carroll had given on CNN, falsely claiming she had talked about enjoying being sexually assaulted.
“She actually indicated that she loved it. OK? She loved it until commercial break,” Trump said. “In fact, I think she said it was sexy, didn’t she? She said it was very sexy to be raped. Didn’t she say that?”
Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, then tried to elicit from Trump that he had raped her client.
“So, sir, I just want to confirm: It’s your testimony that E. Jean Carroll said that she loved being sexually assaulted by you?”
Trump answered: “Well, based on her interview with Anderson Cooper, I believe that’s what took place. And we can define that. … I think she said that rape was sexy — which it’s not, by the way.”
What Carroll has said in her writing, and in the interview with Cooper, is that she doesn’t like to use the word rape because some other people “think rape is sexy.” She said she preferred the term “fight.”
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At another point in the deposition, Kaplan asked Trump if he had ever touched a woman on her breast or buttocks or any other sexual part without her consent.
“Well, I will tell you no, but you may have some people like your client that lie,” he responded.
Late Friday, Trump attorney Alina Habba issued a statement, saying: “While it was entirely unnecessary for the unsealing of a transcript both parties previously agreed would remain confidential, our client has nothing to hide and looks forward to resolving this meritless case.”
Roberta Kaplan declined to comment on the release of the deposition excerpts.
Adult Survivors Act
Kaplan, the Manhattan judge, earlier Friday upheld the lawsuits alleging rape and defamation and seeking unspecified damages by Carroll, saying they could proceed to trial because Trump’s challenges were without merit.
“The fact that Mr. Trump denies Ms. Carroll’s allegations does not enter into the analysis at this stage of the case,” the jurist wrote. “What, if anything, actually occurred must await further proceedings if the complaint withstands the present motion.”
Habba said in a statement: “While we are disappointed with the Court’s decision, we intend to immediately appeal the order and continue to advocate for our client’s constitutionally protected rights.”
Carroll initially sued Trump for defamation after he mocked her claims that he sexually assaulted her. She sued Trump with the rape claim in November, when the Adult Survivors Act took effect.
In his ruling, the judge said the Adult Survivors Act was similar to the Child Victims Act, another New York state law that temporarily allowed victims of sexual assaults when they were children to sue their abusers years later.
The Adult Survivors Act gives survivors of sexual offences that occurred when they were over the age of 18 a one-year window to sue regardless of the statute of limitations.
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.