Trump sex abuse accuser E. Jean Carroll testifies the ex-president shattered her reputation

With Donald Trump looking on, writer E. Jean Carroll testified Wednesday that the former president shattered her reputation and continues to inspire venom against her from strangers because she claimed he sexually abused her decades ago.

Carroll, 80, was the first witness in a Manhattan federal court trial to determine damages, if any, that Trump owes her for remarks he made while he was president as he vehemently denied ever attacking her or knowing her. A jury last year already found that Trump sexually abused her and defamed her in October 2022.

During Carroll’s testimony, Trump grimaced, shook his head and animatedly turned to speak to his lawyer, who lobbed multiple objections seeking to prevent the jury from hearing details of her sexual assault allegations.


Trump set to face jury over sex abuse and defamation claims

Jury selection begins Tuesday morning at a federal court in Manhattan. Opening arguments could take place by afternoon in what is essentially a second penalty phase of a legal fight Carroll has already won.

"I’ve paid just about as dearly as it’s possible to pay," she said, referencing the damage she said rump had caused

She took the stand after a hostile encounter occurred between Trump attorney Alina Habba and Judge Lewis A. Kaplan over the judge's refusal to adjourn the trial on Thursday so Trump can attend his mother-in-law's funeral.

Habba called the judge's ruling "insanely prejudicial" and the judge soon afterward cut her off, saying he would "hear no further argument on it."

Habba told the judge: "I will not be spoken to that way, your honor." When she mentioned the funeral again, the judge responded: "It's denied. Sit down. Bring in the jury."

Carroll's testimony came less than a year after she was in the same chair convincing a jury in the hopes that Trump could be held accountable in a way that would stop him from frequent verbal attacks against her as he campaigns for the presidency. He is the frontrunner on the Republican ticket and won the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

"I'm here because Donald Trump assaulted me and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened. He lied and shattered my reputation," she said.

Carroll said Trump's public lies about her began in June 2019 and have continued without interruption.

"He lied last month. He lied on Sunday. He lied yesterday. And I am here to get my reputation back," Carroll said.

She said she opened a social media website on Tuesday and saw a post that said: "Hey lady, you're a fraud."

Once, Carroll testified, she was a respected advice columnist. "Now, I'm known as the liar, the fraud and the whack job."

Because the first jury found that Trump sexually abused Carroll in the 1990s and then defamed her in 2022, the new trial concerns only how much more — if anything — he'll be ordered to pay her for other remarks he made in 2019 while he was president.

Trump, who is juggling court appearances with campaign stops, sat in on jury selection Tuesday. Before opening statements began, he left for a New Hampshire rally.

He declared on social media Tuesday that the case was nothing but "fabricated lies and political shenanigans" that had garnered his accuser money and fame.

"I am the only one injured by this attempted EXTORTION," read a post on his Truth Social platform.

Carroll, an advice columnist and magazine writer, has said that Trump harmed her deeply. First, she claims, he forced himself on her in a dressing room after a chance meeting at a luxury department store in 1996. Then he publicly impugned her honesty, her motives and even her sanity after she told the story publicly in a 2019 memoir.

Carroll has maintained she lost millions of readers and her longtime post at Elle magazine, where her "Ask E. Jean" advice column ran for over a quarter-century, because of her allegations and Trump's reaction to them. Elle has said her contract wasn’t renewed for unrelated reasons.

Trump asserts that nothing ever happened between him and Carroll and that he never met her. He says a 1987 party photo of them and their then-spouses "doesn't count" because it was a momentary greeting.

Trump did not attend the previous trial in the case last May, when a jury found he had sexually abused and defamed Carroll and awarded her $5 million in damages. The jury said, however, that Carroll hadn’t proven her claim that Trump raped her.

Carroll is now seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and millions more in punitive damages.

The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.


Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.