Tuesday marked the start of the jury selection process for a civil trial involving accusations of sexual assault and defamation against former President Trump made by author E. Jean Carroll, who claims he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.
Why it’s important Carroll is one of at least 26 women who have publicly accused Trump of sexual misconduct or assault over the years, but few of these cases have led to legal action, and none have gone to trial. The accusations against Trump have been refuted by him.
Driving the news: On Wednesday, during the second day of the trial, Carroll testified that she was there because “Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen,” according to the AP.
How did we get here?
Carroll, a writer and longtime advice columnist, first accused Trump of sexual assault in an excerpt of her book, “What Do We Need Men For?” published in New York Magazine in 2019.
In the book, Carroll alleges that the sexual assault occurred in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s.
After Trump denied the allegation in 2019, Carroll sued for defamation a few months later — accusing him of damaging her reputation and her career through his denial.
In late 2022, Carroll was allowed to sue Trump for battery after New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which allows adult survivors of sexual violence to sue over attacks that occurred decades ago, went into effect.
The trial will include Carroll’s defamation and sexual assault lawsuits, which Trump has attempted to dismiss.
Trump’s lawyers also sought to delay the lawsuits and trial multiple times, including after they learned that Carroll’s legal fees have in part been paid by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.