How Trump’s Words Are Already Coming Back to Haunt Him at E. Jean Carroll Rape Trial newsusface

If E. Jean Carroll’s lawyers have their way, Donald Trump’s infamous words about abusing his celebrity status to violate women will finally come back to haunt him.

Carroll’s lawyers implored a New York jury Tuesday to judge the former president by his own boasts and conclude that he did, in fact, rape Carroll some 27 years ago at a luxury department store.

“‘Grab them by the pussy.’ It’s not locker room talk. It’s exactly what he did to Ms. Carroll and other women,” Shawn G. Crowley, one of Carroll’s lawyers, said in her opening statement.

Carroll’s legal team made it clear that Trump’s long history of misogynistic comments would be center stage as the former president fights off accusations of sexual battery and defamation in a civil trial that could cost him significant money.

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

The nine-person jury, which was quickly selected Tuesday morning, also heard from the aggressive attorney Trump hired to defend him—one who launched a ferocious attack against a woman he said has simply made it all up.

“It all comes down to: Do you believe the unbelievable?” Joe Tacopina told the jury. “She did it… to sell a book, to hurt him politically, and to inject herself into the spotlight.”

Tacopina zeroed in on the fact that Carroll doesn’t remember when exactly the alleged rape occurred, repeatedly pointing out that the longtime advice columnist never alerted the police, never asked the Bergdorf Goodman department store to turn over surveillance camera footage, and didn’t go public when it happened.

“She doesn’t want to give Trump the opportunity to provide an alibi,” he said. “No one ever told the police. That would require a police investigation.”

The very first day of trial in Manhattan’s federal courthouse served as a preview of what will be a savage battle that strikes at the heart of the nation’s Great Reckoning, sparked by the #MeToo movement in 2017 with sexual assault victims who finally felt empowered to expose the powerful people who preyed upon them. Nearly six years after claims were first exposed against the mighty Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, a case of historic proportions now threatens to brand a former American president as a rapist as well.

The dual nature of the trial—which will determine if Trump raped Carroll and if he defamed her from the White House when he essentially called her a liar—touches on the very foundations of this wave of accountability for alleged sexual misconduct.

Crowley made that clear during her opening remarks, imploring jurors to see the case through that lens.

“He went on the attack, seeking to destroy and intimidate her,” Crowley said. “He said, ‘She’s not my type.’ We all know what that means. He was saying she was too ugly to assault.”

When it was his turn to speak to jurors, Tacopina prepared them to watch a video of Trump’s testimony where the former president apparently grew increasingly incensed at questions from Carroll’s lawyers.

“She called him a rapist. Of course he exploded! Of course he attacked her!” he said, setting up a defense for defamation. “Because he never raped her, him calling her a liar was the truth.”

New Yorkers on this jury include a computer coder in Upstate New York, a Bronx mom whose husband works at a factory, and a security guard who listens to rightwing podcaster Tim Pool. All of them swore to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that they could fairly hear the case without preconceived biases against Trump, who is arguably the most divisive American former head of state in generations.

But Tacopina still hedged his bets when he first addressed the jurors, asking them to look past what he assumed are liberal leanings in the deep blue New York City.

“It’s OK to feel however you feel… you can hate Donald Trump. That’s OK,” he said. “But there’s a time and a place to act: the ballot box… not here, in a court of law.”

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