Former President Donald Trump briefly testified in his own defense in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial on Thursday, January 25, 2024. The trial centers on Trump’s 2019 comments about E. Jean Carroll, a writer who accused him of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s. Carroll is seeking at least $10 million in damages.
Trump’s testimony in the trial was brief, lasting less than three minutes. He was not bound by the court to speak at or attend the trial, at which cameras are not allowed, but did so repeatedly. His appearance on Thursday amounted to another opportunity, in Trump’s estimation, to advance the narrative that he is the victim of a broad conspiracy designed to block his return to power.
During his testimony, Trump stood by his previous statements about Carroll, calling her a “whack job” and “sick”. He also defended his comments about her in a 2022 deposition, saying that he stood by them “100%”. Trump’s testimony was severely restricted by Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the trial and has already determined that Trump defamed Carroll.
The E. Jean Carroll defamation trial is the second in a pair of cases brought by Carroll against Trump. The first trial, which took place in 2023, resulted in a jury awarding Carroll $5 million in damages. The current trial will decide how much more money in damages Trump must pay.
The trial has been closely watched, with both sides presenting evidence and calling witnesses to support their arguments. Carroll’s lawyers have played videos for the jury in which Trump attested to his personal wealth and have also played clips from earlier depositions and media statements by Trump in which he made derogatory comments about women.
Trump’s legal team has sought to undermine Carroll’s claims, arguing that she has exaggerated her story and benefited financially from going public with her accusations. They have also attacked Carroll’s credibility, pointing to text messages in which she wrote that she had no security concerns at the time of the alleged assault.
The E. Jean Carroll defamation trial has brought to light the allegations of sexual assault against former President Donald Trump and has highlighted the importance of holding powerful individuals accountable for their actions. The trial has also underscored the challenges faced by survivors of sexual assault in seeking justice and the importance of supporting them in their efforts.
The trial is ongoing, with closing arguments scheduled for Friday, January 26, 2024. The jury of nine will then have the case and will decide how much more money in damages Trump must pay.