E. Jean Carroll Says Trump ‘Shattered’ Her Reputation as He Watches in Court

Since E. Jean Carroll accused Donald Trump of raping her in a dressing room in Bergdorf Goodman, he has made dozens of posts on social media accusing her of lying — although a jury last year awarded her $2 million in damages for the assault.

On Wednesday, the former president watched and listened for the first time as Ms. Carroll, 80, described how those statements affected her.

“He shattered my reputation,” Ms. Carroll said in a federal courtroom in Lower Manhattan as Mr. Trump sat at the defense table, attending the proceedings for a second straight day.

In a trial this week, the former Elle magazine advice columnist is seeking $10 million in damages for two statements he made as president in 2019, accusing her of lying about claims he assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s. Mr. Trump called Ms. Carroll’s rape claim “totally false,” said that he had never met Ms. Carroll, and that she had invented the story to sell a book.

Ms. Carroll, the author of five books, had regular appearances on programs like “Good Morning America” and the “Today” show before 2019, when she wrote a book that described the assault in a chapter that was published in New York magazine. Those appearances stopped after Mr. Trump accused her of lying and she was deluged with threats and cruel comments about her looks on social media and in her inbox, according to her lawyers.

“I was attacked,” Ms. Carroll said. “I was attacked on Twitter. I was attacked on Facebook. I was living in a new universe.”

Mr. Trump repeatedly shook his head and exhaled loudly, appearing to scoff as Ms. Carroll testified.

The former president is not required to attend the civil trial, but has said he wants to attend and testify — something he didn’t do in the earlier case, when a jury also awarded Ms. Carroll $3 million for other defamation claims. Mr. Trump has sought to turn his legal troubles, including four criminal cases, into a political strength.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, interrupted Ms. Carroll’s testimony several times with objections that were frequently overruled by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

Mr. Trump was expressive throughout the morning, showing impatience and anger as Ms. Habba and Judge Kaplan sparred, particularly over the judge’s refusal to adjourn the trial on Thursday for the funeral of Mr. Trump’s mother-in-law, Amalija Knavs. His absence in court, she suggested, could be “prejudicial” to his case. (Mr. Trump attended jury selection on Tuesday but missed opening statements after, when he left for a rally in New Hampshire.)

Mr. Trump slammed the defense table when the judge announced his decision. “Man,” he said, then whispered angrily to Ms. Habba.

Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Shawn Crowley, told Judge Kaplan that Mr. Trump was making audible statements from the defense table intended to undermine the testimony. She said she heard Mr. Trump mutter “she has gotten her memory back” during Ms. Carroll’s testimony.

Judge Kaplan told Mr. Trump to “take special care to keep his voice down” when conferring with his lawyers.

Kate Christobek contributed reporting.

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