What to Know About E. Jean Carroll’s Lawsuit Against Donald Trump

The writer E. Jean Carroll’s case accusing Donald J. Trump of raping her in a department-store dressing room continues Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The case against the former president, who has denied all wrongdoing, began last Tuesday and was expected to last one to two weeks. Mr. Trump’s lawyers on Monday filed a motion for a mistrial, arguing that the court had made “pervasive unfair and prejudicial rulings.”

Here’s what to know about the trial so far:

The Accusation

Ms. Carroll, a former advice columnist for Elle magazine, says she visited the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman, where she was a regular shopper, one evening in the mid-1990s.

As she was leaving through a revolving side door on 58th Street, Mr. Trump entered through the same door, and recognized her, the suit says, and persuaded her to help him shop for a gift for a female friend. She has accused the former president of going on to attack her in a dressing room in the lingerie department.

Harrowing Testimony

Since lawyers gave their opening statements last week, Ms. Carroll has been the main witness. She related her story in graphic detail.

“I am here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen,” Ms. Carroll said. “He lied and shattered my reputation, and I am here to try to get my life back.”

Ms. Carroll testified that she told two friends about her experience within a day of the attack. One told her she had been raped and that she needed to go to the police. A second told her not to tell anyone because Mr. Trump was powerful and had a team of lawyers who would bury her.

She kept silent for decades before writing about the event in a 2019 memoir.

Skeptical Questions

On Thursday, Mr. Trump's lawyer Joseph Tacopina began his cross-examination. In questioning Ms. Carroll, he tried to show inconsistencies between her accounts in court and deposition testimony, in public statements and in a book and magazine excerpt she published in 2019, where she first publicly accused Mr. Trump of rape.

The lawyer pressed Ms. Carroll repeatedly about her inability to remember precisely when in 1995 or 1996 the alleged encounter occurred, and asked her why she had not screamed or spoken to the police afterward.

“It all comes down to, do you believe the unbelievable?” Mr. Tacopina said during his opening statement.

His cross-examination continues Monday.

What Ms. Carroll Seeks

Ms. Carroll sued Mr. Trump in November under a new state law in New York that grants adult sexual abuse victims a one-year window to bring civil lawsuits against people they say abused them.

Her lawsuit, filed in federal court because she and Mr. Trump live in different states, asks that a jury find Mr. Trump liable for battery and defamation, and award her monetary damages.

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