The defense team for author E Jean Carroll has rebuffed Donald Trump’s claim that she was “too ugly” to be attacked, claiming that a photo of the two together showed that Ms. Carroll was “exactly his type.”

The author’s counsel began by rejecting the idea that this was a “he said, she said” tale and asserted that they had sufficient proof to support their accusations as the historic rape hearings against the former president got off in New York on Monday.

The trial centres on allegations made by Ms Carroll in a 2019 book excerpt that Mr Trump sexually assaulted her in the mid 1990s inside the dressing room of a New York department store.

Mr Trump, who has denied the allegations, previously responded to the accusations by saying: “She’s not my type.”

In her opening statement, Ms Carroll’s lawyer Shawn Crowley described to jurors the graphic details of the assault, stating that Mr Trump “jammed his hand up her dress, pulled down her tights and forced his penis inside her”.

“‘Not my type.’ We all know what that means: He was saying she was too ugly to assault,” Mr Crowley said.

He presented a photograph of the two together at a party, which was embedded in her complaint.

“This will show you that Ms Carroll was exactly his type,” Mr Crowley told jurors.

The attorney also hit back at questions over why the author stayed silent for years.

He said two of Ms Carroll’s friends, author Lisa Birnbach and TV anchor Carol Martin, knew of the alleged assault at the time, with the former reportedly warning her that Mr Trump was too powerful to confront.

Two other women, journalist Natasha Stoynoff and businesswoman Jessica Leeds, will also testify that Mr Trump assaulted them.

“In her view, Mr Trump was way too powerful,” Mr Crowley said, adding that Ms Martin believed Mr Trump had “hundreds of lawyers” who would “bury” Ms Carroll if she came forward.

Ms Carroll’s lawyers intend to call her sister, Cande Carroll, who will testify that it was not unusual for the siblings, who grew up in the shadow of the Second World War, to stay silent about sexual assault.

Mr Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, criticised Ms Carroll for the delay in coming forward with the allegations and said it was her responsibility to prove her case.

Mr Trump’s defence has only two witnesses listed, with Mr Tacopina hinting that his “video deposition” would be submitted as evidence.

He also said he was unsure whether Mr Trump would testify in person.

Senior US district judge Lewis Kaplan pressed Mr Tacopina to clarify whether the former president will testify, with testimony from witnesses expected to begin on Wednesday.

During jury selection, none of the potential candidates said they believed Mr Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, and none of them said they used his platform Truth Social.