Former President Donald Trump was questioned on oath on Wednesday in the defamation suit filed by E. Jean Carroll, a magazine columnist who claims he raped her about 25 years ago.
The deposition gives Carroll’s lawyers a chance to interrogate Trump about the assault allegations as well as statements he made in 2019 when she told her story publicly for the first time.
Trump says Carroll’s rape allegation is “a hoax and a lie.”
His legal team worked for years to delay his deposition in the lawsuit, which was filed when he was still president. Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected Trump’s request for another delay, saying he couldn’t “run the clock out on plaintiff’s attempt to gain a remedy for what allegedly was a serious wrong.”
Details of where, when and how Trump was to be questioned haven’t been revealed by either his lawyers or Carroll’s. The only confirmation that the deposition took place was a brief statement made on Wednesday afternoon by a spokesperson for the firm, Kaplan Hecker & Fink: “We’re pleased that on behalf of our client, E. Jean Carroll, we were able to take Donald Trump’s deposition today. We are not able to comment further,”
Trump appeared to be in Florida as of Wednesday morning.
Carroll was to have been questioned by Trump’s lawyers last Friday. Neither her attorneys and nor Trump’s have responded to questions about how that deposition went.
Anything the former president says during his deposition could potentially be used as evidence in an upcoming civil trial. He hasn’t faced any criminal charges related to Carroll’s allegations and any prosecution is unlikely. The deadline for criminal charges over sexual assaults that occurred in the 1990s has long expired.
However, New York lawmakers recently gave survivors of sexual violence a one-year window to sue their attackers over old assaults. Carroll’s lawyer has told the court she intends to file such a suit against Trump after that window opens in late November.
According to Carroll’s account, she bumped into Trump as the two were shopping at the Bergdorf Goodman store across Fifth Avenue from Trump Tower. At the time, Carroll was on television as the host of an advice program, “Ask E. Jean.”
She said the two engaged in friendly banter as she tried to help him pick out a gift. But when they were briefly alone in a dressing room, she said he pulled down her tights and raped her.
In a recent statement, Trump called that story “a complete con job.”
“I don’t know this woman, have no idea who she is, other than it seems she got a picture of me many years ago, with her husband, shaking my hand on a reception line at a celebrity charity event,” Trump said.
With News Wire Services