US jurors hear ex-president’s video testimony as civil trial of alleged rape in New York continues.
Donald Trump has denied knowing E Jean Carroll, the writer accusing the former president of the United States of rape, while a New York City jury heard video testimony from Trump in the civil case for the second day.
Trump’s video statement was played to jurors on Thursday during the civil trial in which Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, accused him of rape.
Carroll, 79, has testified that the former president, 76, raped her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s, then tarnished her reputation and career by lying about it online.
In a video clip played Thursday, Trump was asked about a statement he made in 2019 that he never met Carroll.
He said that was true at the time, but he was later shown a photo of him shaking her or her husband’s hand at a receiving line at a celebrity event. “I shook hands with a lot of people, but I had no idea who she was,” Trump said.
Trump, who currently leads the Republican nomination for president in 2024, has yet to attend the trial, which began last week in Manhattan federal court.
His legal team told U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that Trump would not testify in person and that they would not call witnesses.
But while visiting a southwestern resort he owns, Trump told reporters he “probably will come.”
“I think it’s a disgrace that it’s allowed to happen, false accusations against a rich man, or in my case against a famous, wealthy and political person,” Trump told reporters as he played golf at the Doonbeg resort.
“I have to go back for a woman who made a false accusation against me, and I have a judge who is extremely hostile,” Trump added.
The trial is expected to last until next week. Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters news agency.
Lawyers for Carroll played about 30 minutes of excerpts from the former president’s statement on Wednesday, including his emphatic denial of the rape allegation.
“If it happened, it would have been reported within minutes,” said Trump, who claimed customers and employees in the “very busy store” would have heard commotion and alerted authorities.
“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story. It’s just made up,” Trump said in the video statement taken in October.
Carroll said during three days of testimony and cross-examination that Trump hit her against the wall in 1995 or 1996, inserted his fingers into her vagina, and then inserted his penis.