Former columnist E. Jean Carroll can use the controversial ‘Access Hollywood’ tape and the testimony of two women who also alleged they were sexually assaulted by former President Donald Trump in her defamation case, a federal judge ruled on Friday.
The case centers around the former columnist’s accusation that Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store in the ‘90s, a claim that the former president has repeatedly denied. She sued him after he portrayed her as a liar in 2019, saying he wouldn’t have raped her as “she’s not my type.”
The 2005 tape includes the former president boasting, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” When the tape resurfaced in 2016 during his presidential campaign, Trump said the quote was simply “locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago.”
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote on Friday, “A jury reasonably could find, even from the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape alone, that Mr. Trump admitted in the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape that he in fact has had contact with women’s genitalia in the past without their consent, or that he has attempted to do so.”
The judge also rejected Trump’s effort to block Carroll from using the testimony of two other women—Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff—both of whom also accused him of sexual assault.
Leeds claimed that Trump groped her and tried to put his hand up her skirt on a 1979 flight from Texas to New York; she then changed seats. Stoynoff alleged that while she was at Mar-a-Lago as a People magazine writer in 2005, Trump pinned her against a wall and forcibly kissed her, while “his beautiful pregnant wife was just upstairs,” she recalled in a 2016 article about the incident.
Trump’s lawyers argued that the incidents involving Leeds and Stoynoff were “vastly different” from the incident involving Carroll. However, the judge disagreed. “The alleged acts are far more similar than different in the important aspects,” he wrote. “In each case, the alleged victim claims that Mr. Trump suddenly attacked her sexually.”
Regardless of the recent setbacks, Trump has a confident lawyer representing him. “There’s no losing this case,” Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina said. The lawyer, who has represented a number of celebrities, including Alex Rodriguez, Jay-Z, A$AP Rocky, said: “I’ve been told by many that I’m the best cross-examiner in the country.”
“I’ve represented people a lot more notorious than Donald Trump,” he said, noting that it is an honor to represent the former president. “Tell me one top criminal defense attorney in the history of this country who hasn’t represented unpopular people. That’s what we do.”
Trump had previously tried to dismiss the civil suit altogether but to no avail. In unsealed excerpts of his deposition, he labeled the suit as “a hoax and a lie,” called Carroll “mentally sick” and a “nut job,” and claimed he didn’t know who she was.
The trial is slated for next month. Carroll also sued Trump for battery under New York state’s Adult Survivors Act.
Another Trump lawsuit is coming to a head this week as he was asked to testify in a case involving his hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
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