Jurors on Tuesday will begin deliberating whether Donald Trump raped writer E. Jean Carroll more than two decades ago and then defamed her by claiming she made up the story.
Lawyers for Carroll and the former U.S. president delivered closing arguments on Monday in Manhattan federal court after seven days of a civil trial.
Trump, the front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential field, has denied raping Carroll and accused her of making up the story to drive sales of a 2019 memoir in which she made her claims public.
On Tuesday, Trump posted a message on his Truth Social platform, claiming that “despite being a current political candidate and leading all others in both parties,” he was not “allowed to speak or defend himself” against what he called a false accusation.
“I will therefore not speak until after the trial, but will appeal the Unconstitutional silencing of me, as a candidate, no matter the outcome!”
Carroll, 79, claims Trump, 76, raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in 1995 or 1996, and then defamed her by denying it happened. The former Elle magazine advice columnist is seeking unspecified monetary damages.
Her defamation claim concerns an October 2022 post on Truth Social in which he called her allegations a “complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie.”
Trump opted not to present a defense at trial, gambling that jurors will find Carroll failed to make a persuasive case.
Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said during closing arguments that a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump says women let him “grab ’em by the pussy” bolstered the accounts of Carroll and other women who have accused Trump of sexual assault.
“He admitted on video to doing exactly the kinds of things that have brought us here to this courtroom,” Kaplan said.
Two of Carroll’s longtime friends testified that she told them about the attack shortly after it occurred and said they believed her. Jurors heard from two other women who said Trump sexually assaulted them in separate incidents decades ago. Trump denies those claims as well.
“Three different women, decades apart, but one single pattern of behavior,” Kaplan said, arguing that Trump’s defense was asking jurors to believe the “ridiculous” claim that the other witnesses conspired to lie.
In a video deposition played for the jury last week, Trump denied raping Carroll.
“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story,” Trump said in the video. “It’s just made up.”
Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, told jurors during closing arguments that the haziness of Carroll’s account made it impossible for Trump to defend himself.
“With no date, no month, no year, you can’t present an alibi, you can’t call witnesses,” Tacopina said. “What they want is for you to hate him enough to ignore the facts.”