March 1, 2024

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Trump rape accuser: ‘Not surprising’ I didn’t call police

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Former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll arrives to Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 1, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK (AP) — A magazine columnist who says Donald Trump raped her in a department store’s dressing room two decades before he became president acknowledged Monday that she never followed her own advice to readers that they report sexual attacks to police.

E. Jean Carroll told a Manhattan federal court jury that she was born in 1943 and was a “member of the silent generation,” taught “to keep our chins up and to not complain.” She said she had only called police once in her life, when she feared the mailbox at a home where she was staying was going to be damaged on Halloween.

Carroll described her attitude about going to the police as Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, confronted her during cross-examination with instances in which she advised those reading her Elle magazine column to contact police or call a sex crimes hotline if they were attacked.

“The fact that I never went to the police is not surprising for somebody my age,” she said. “We were not trained to call the police, ever.”

Carroll, testifying for a third day in the civil trial stemming from her November lawsuit, has said Trump raped her in the spring of 1996 at a luxury midtown Manhattan department store after they went into a dressing room together in an encounter that she said was fun and flirtatious until Trump became violent. She said she eventually kneed him and fled.

Trump, 76, has long denied that a rape happened, that he was at the store with Carroll or that he even knew her beyond fleeting moments when pictures were taken of them in group settings in other years. He has not attended the trial, which is expected to last through the week.

Carroll’s renewed testimony came shortly after Tacopina asked Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is overseeing the civil proceedings in federal court, to declare a mistrial because of rulings he made that Tacopina said favored Carroll.

Tacopina said if a mistrial was not granted, then Kaplan’s “pervasive unfair and prejudicial rulings” should correct the record for any rulings that may have mischaracterized the evidence or permit Tacopina more latitude in questioning Carroll.

The judge seemed to reject the request before testimony resumed Monday, asking Tacopina if the motion he found on his desk in the morning had been filed.

“It is now denied. Ok, get the jury,” Kaplan said.

Carroll filed a lawsuit against Trump under a New York state law letting sexual assault victims temporarily sue others for attacks that happened even decades ago.

Amid a flurry of public denials and insults from Trump that prompted Carroll to add a defamation claim to the lawsuit, Trump has insisted that Carroll was motivated by political reasons and a desire to sell copies of the 2019 memoir where she first publicly revealed her rape claims while Trump was still president.

Carroll has testified that she would have kept her accusation secret forever if not for the #MeToo movement, which gained prominence in 2017.

During testimony on Thursday, Carroll grew frustrated as Tacopina pressed her on how she claims she reacted to an attack from his client.

“You can’t beat up on me because I didn’t scream,” Carroll forcefully told Tacopina. She had explained in earlier testimony that she was “not a screamer — I’m a fighter.”

She said if she were lying about the assault, she would’ve told people she had screamed because “more people would have believed me.”

But, she emphasized, “I don’t need an excuse for not screaming.”

In his mistrial request Monday, Tacopina complained that Kaplan shut down his questioning when he pushed Carroll to explain why she did not scream, why she didn’t tell police or attempt afterward to retrieve footage from video cameras at the store’s doors to prove that she and Trump were there together.

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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