On Monday, a US court heard closing arguments in a closely watched lawsuit trial in which ex-President Donald Trump is accused of raping and defaming an American former magazine columnist.
Lawyers for accuser E. Jean Carroll urged the nine-person jury to convict Trump of sexual assault in a New York department shop in the mid-1990s.
“No one, not even a former president, is above the law,” attorney Roberta Kaplan told the Manhattan federal court.
Carroll, 79, sued Trump last year, alleging that he raped her in the changing room of the luxury Bergdorf Goodman store on Fifth Avenue in either late 1995 or early 1996.
The former columnist for Elle magazine also claims that Trump defamed her when he called her “a complete con job” after she went public with the allegation in 2019.
Trump has not been criminally prosecuted and has repeatedly denied the allegations, often referring to Carroll as “not my type.”
“The truth is,” Carroll “was exactly his type,” Kaplan said to the jurors who will begin deliberating on Tuesday.
In the defense’s closing remarks, Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina stated that there was no evidence of an assault and accused Carroll of attempting to disrupt Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.
He urged the jurors to use “common sense,” claiming that if Trump had assaulted Carroll in public, he would have been “immediately arrested.”
Carroll’s lawsuit seeks specific monetary damages for “significant pain and suffering, long-term psychological and financial harms, loss of dignity and self-esteem, and invasion of privacy.” It also requests that Trump recant his remarks.
During the two-week trial, the court heard from Carroll and two other women who claimed they had been sexually assaulted by Trump decades ago.
Carroll said from the witness stand that the alleged rape had left her feeling “ashamed” and unable to have romantic relationships.
She said it took her more than 20 years to go public because she was “frightened” by Trump.
Carroll’s civil action cannot result in a criminal trial, but if Trump loses, it will be the first time he has ever been held legally accountable for a sexual assault complaint.
A dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct in the run-up to the 2016 election. He has rejected all of the allegations and has never been charged in connection with any of them.
Trump did not testify in court, but sat for a sworn deposition last October, during which he labeled Carroll “a liar” and a “really sick person.”
The issue is one of several legal challenges facing the 76-year-old Republican as he pursues re-election to the presidency in 2016.
Last month, he pleaded not guilty in a criminal case related to a hush-money payment made to a porn star just before the 2016 vote.
Trump is also being investigated over his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the southern state of Georgia, his alleged mishandling of classified documents taken from the White House and his involvement in the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 2021.