In a Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday, jurors will begin hearing E. Jean Carroll’s allegations that former President Donald J. Trump raped her in a department store dressing room more than two decades ago in a lawsuit seeking to pursue ## The MeToo era has arrived with a dominant political figure.
The trial in federal district court in Manhattan, expected to last one to two weeks, stems from a lawsuit and will be part of a series of legal actions against Mr Trump, who is campaigning to re-elect the presidency and Arguing that the lawsuit and investigation were meant to drag him down.
Ms. Carroll, a former magazine columnist, did not speak publicly about the encounter for decades until publishing a memoir in 2019 accusing Trump of attacking her.
In the lawsuit, Ms. Carroll, 79, said that one evening in the mid-1990s, she visited luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman, where she was a regular customer. There, the suit says, she met Mr. Trump. The suit says the two had met at least once before and that they traveled in the same circles in New York City. He said he was buying gifts for “a girl” and asked her to advise him. She said she ended up accompanying him to the underwear department, where, she contends, he took her to a changing room and raped her.
Mr. Trump, 76, has denied he raped Ms. Carroll, accused her of lying and attacked her repeatedly in public statements and on social media, both while in office and since. In 2019, after she published her account, he called her allegations “completely false” and said he couldn’t have raped her because she wasn’t his “type”. In October last year, he said again in a post on Truth Social that she hadn’t told the truth and that the case was “a total hoax”.
Ms. Carroll’s lawyers will ask the jury to find Mr. Trump responsible for the assault and award monetary damages if he is found responsible.
The New York state law allowing Ms. Carroll to sue is less than a year old. The Adult Survivors Act, passed in May 2022, allows victims of abuse to file a one-time civil lawsuit even if the statute of limitations has expired. From November 24 last year, plaintiffs have 12 months to file a lawsuit. Ms. Carroll sued on the first day she was allowed.
In a recent order, the judge noted that Mr. Trump is not required to attend the trial, and Ms. Carroll’s lawyers have made clear they do not intend to call him as a witness. He can decide to testify in his own defence.
Judge Lewis Kaplan will lead the jury selection process on Tuesday, posing his own questions to prospective jurors and others from Ms. Carroll and the former president’s lawyers. Ultimately, 6 to 12 New Yorkers will be selected. Then, opening remarks will begin.