Trump rejects last chance to testify in civil trial in New York

NEW YORK (AP) – Former President Donald Trump on Sunday turned down his last chance to testify in a civil lawsuit in which a longtime columnist has accused him of raping her in a dressing room at a luxury department store in 1996.

Trump, a Republican presidential nominee in 2024, was given until 5 p.m. Sunday by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to file a request for testimony. Nothing was deposited.

It wasn’t a surprise. Trump has not appeared once during the two-week Manhattan trial that the writer was in E. Jean Carroll testified for several days, and repeated claims she first made public in her 2019 memoir. She is demanding millions in damages and punitive damages.

The jury did too watched long excerpts from October videotaped deposition in which Trump vehemently denied raping Carroll or ever really knowing her.

Barring Trump’s testimony, attorneys were scheduled to deliver closing arguments on Monday, with deliberations expected to begin Tuesday.

After prosecutors dropped their case Thursday, Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, immediately dropped the defense case without calling witnesses. He did not request additional time for Trump to decide whether to testify. Tacopina declined in an email to comment after Sunday’s deadline.

On Thursday, Chaplain had given Trump additional time to change his mind and seek testimony, though the judge had not promised he would grant such a request for a retrial so Trump could comment.

At the time, Kaplan noted he heard news on Thursday in which Trump, while visiting his golf course in Doonbeg, Ireland, told reporters he was “likely” to attend the hearing. Trump also criticized Kaplan, a Bill Clinton appointee, as an “extremely hostile” and “rude judge” who “doesn’t like me very much.”

On the witness stand, Carroll, 79, testified that Trump, 76, raped her in the spring of 1996 after they met at the entrance to the Bergdorf Goodman department store in midtown Manhattan.

She said the encounter began as a fun and flirtatious outing when Trump persuaded her to help him shop for a present for another woman. She said they ended up in the store’s desolate lingerie department, where they teased each other about trying on a see-through bodysuit.

As Carroll recalled, laughter accompanied her into a dressing room, where Trump turned violent, slamming her against a wall, pulling aside her pantyhose and raping her before kneeling him and fleeing the store.

In his testimony, Trump said Carroll invented it. He called it “a false, disgusting lie” delivered by a “maniac” who was trying to boost sales of her book.

He also repeated comments he had made in statements that she wasn’t his “type.”

“She’s not my type and that’s 100% true,” he said.

And he repeated his claims in a 2005 Access Hollywood video, in which he boasted that men who are celebrities can grab women by the genitals without asking.

“Historically, that’s true of stars,” he said.

Carol sued Trump in NovemberMinutes after New York state enacted a law allowing adult victims of sexual assault to sue others, even if the assault happened decades earlier.

Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan wrote a letter to the judge on Sunday to complain that Trump still hasn’t made any posts dated April 26. And she noted that he made derogatory remarks about the trial in Ireland three days ago.

Following the April 26 postings on Truth Social, Judge Kaplan, who is not related to Carroll’s attorney, said Trump’s comments were “highly inappropriate” and expressed concern that Trump was attempting to communicate with the jury “about things that… has no business.”

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

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