Donald Trump did not show up at a civil rape trial against him because “he knows what he did” to the woman accusing him of allegedly raping her, a jury heard in closing remarks.
Lawyers for writer E Jean Carroll, who is suing the former president, said Mr Trump “didn’t even bother to show up in person” to the civil trial in New York and called him a “witness against himself”.
Ms Carroll, 79, claims that Mr Trump raped her in a department store changing room in Manhattan in the mid-1990s, and then tarred her reputation by lying about it online – which he denies.
She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
During the trial, Ms Carroll testified and told jurors Mr Trump “shattered” her reputation and she was there “to try and get my life back”.
Mr Trump’s lawyer insists Ms Carroll has “abused the system” for “money, status and political reasons” and said her inability to recall the date of the alleged incident made it impossible for Mr Trump to defend himself.
In closing remarks in the third week, Ms Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan played jurors a portion of the Access Hollywood video from 2005, where Mr Trump said into a hot mic that celebrities could grab women’s genitals without asking.
Ms Kaplan recalled Mr Trump’s comment that “stars like him can get away with sexually assaulting women”.
She said: “That’s who Donald Trump is. That is how he thinks. And that’s what he does.”
She told jurors that much of what he said in his deposition and in public statements “actually supports our side of the case”, adding that he is “a witness against himself”.
“He knows what he did. He knows that he sexually assaulted E Jean Carroll,” Ms Kaplan said.
In the trial, jurors were also shown a deposition of Mr Trump confusing Ms Carroll for his ex-wife Marla Maples in a photograph – which Ms Carroll’s lawyers say undermines the former president’s argument that she was not his type.
Mr Trump has said he could not have raped Ms Carroll, because “she’s not my type” and called the case politically motivated.
The former president waived his right to testify at trial and opted not to present a defence, gambling that jurors will find Ms Carroll had failed to make a persuasive case.
During closing arguments, Mr Trump’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina, said Ms Carroll has “abused this system”.
He said: “She has abused this system by bringing a false claim for, amongst other things, money, status, political reasons.
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“With no date, no month, no year, you can’t present an alibi, you can’t call witnesses.
“What they want is for you to hate him enough to ignore the facts.”
Since Ms Carroll first made her accusations in a 2019 memoir, Mr Trump, 76, has denied that a rape ever occurred or that he even knew Ms Carroll.
Ms Carroll claimed after running into Mr Trump at Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman, they teased one another to try on a piece of lingerie.
She alleged they ended up alone together in a changing room, where Mr Trump pushed her against a wall and raped her before she fought him off and fled.
Judge Lewis A Kaplan, who is unrelated to Ms Kaplan, told jurors they would begin deliberations on Tuesday.