NATIONAL NEWS

Trump calls accuser a ‘nut job’ in recording played for jury

May 4, 2023, 8:37 AM | Updated: 2:58 pm

Former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll arrives at the Manhattan federal court for her lawsuit agai...

Former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll arrives at the Manhattan federal court for her lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, Thursday, May 4, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK (AP) — Jurors watching Donald Trump’s video deposition Thursday heard the former president deride a woman accusing him of rape as a “nut job” and “mentally sick,” while an expert estimated that Trump’s earlier public denials could have caused nearly $3 million in damage to the accuser’s reputation.

A transcript of Trump’s testimony about E. Jean Carroll shown in court Wednesday.

Carroll’s lawyers rested their case after playing the remaining deposition excerpts and calling three witnesses, including a friend who said Carroll told her about the alleged rape soon after it happened.

Trump’s lawyers, who have called no witnesses, attempted to rest their case too, but Judge Lewis Kaplan said he would give them until Sunday to make sure Trump has no second thoughts after deciding not to testify in his own defense.

Speaking to reporters Thursday while on a golf trip to Ireland, Trump suggested he would “probably attend” the trial, but lawyer Joseph Tacopina said there were no plans for him to do so. Barring a Trump appearance, Kaplan said, lawyers will make closing arguments Monday.

Trump, in Ireland, also repeated his claim that the case is a political “scam.” He knocked Kaplan, a Bill Clinton appointee, as an “extremely hostile” and “rough judge” who “doesn’t like me very much.”

Kaplan, who was irked at the the trial’s outset when Trump criticized the case on social media, did not address his latest remarks.

The video shown Thursday also included Trump standing by his prior comments that Carroll was not his “type” and defending as “locker room talk” his notorious boasts in a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording about grabbing women’s genitals.

Later, Northwestern University sociologist Ashlee Humphreys testified that a statement Trump made in October 2022 reiterating prior denials had caused between $368,000 and $2.76 million in harm to Carroll’s reputation.

Trump’s statement, posted on his Truth Social platform just days before he sat for the deposition, was seen by an estimated 13.8 million to 18 million people, Humphreys testified. She cited social science modeling she performed on behalf of Carroll’s lawyers.

Trump’s earlier denials caused even more reputational harm, Humphreys said, as when Trump claimed that he had never met Carroll and when he said she was “totally lying” just after she went public in June 2019.

Those estimates could be a factor if the jury finds that Trump defamed Carroll and must weigh monetary damages. She is seeking an unspecified amount of money and a retraction of Trump statements that she alleges were defamatory.

Carroll, a 79-year-old writer and former magazine advice columnist, alleges that Trump raped her in an upscale New York department store dressing room in spring 1996.

According to Carroll, they ran into each other, got into lighthearted banter about trying on lingerie and went jokingly into the fitting room, where he slammed the door and suddenly became violent.

Not until 2019 did she take legal action, but two of her friends have testified that she described the attack to them shortly after Carroll said it occurred.

“I believed it then, and I believe it today,” one of those friends, former television news anchor Carol Martin, said Thursday on the witness stand.

Trump, 76, says that Carroll fabricated the entire encounter and that he has never met her, except for a brief exchange of pleasantries at a 1987 social event.

“I think she’s sick, mentally sick,” Trump said calmly during the deposition. He added: “She said that I did something to her that never took place. There was no anything. I know nothing about this nut job.”

The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.

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On Twitter, follow Jennifer Peltz at twitter.com/jennpeltz and Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and send confidential tips by visiting https://www.ap.org/tips/.

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Trump calls accuser a ‘nut job’ in recording played for jury