Rape allegation against Donald Trump heads to civil trial
By Jennifer S Kuwanta
A lawsuit trial pitting Donald Trump against a well-known former American columnist, who claims he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, is set to begin jury selection today.
E. Jean Carroll, 79, claims that after being sexually attacked by Trump in a New York department shop, he defamed her after she came up with the claims.
Trump, who is engaged in a number of legal disputes that could jeopardise his bid for reelection in 2024, refutes the accusations.
The trial began just a few weeks after his famous arraignment on allegations of making a hush-money payment to a porn star soon before the 2016 presidential election.
Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, claims that Trump sexually assaulted her in the dressing room of the opulent Bergdorf Goodman department store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in the middle of the 1990s.
She claimed that the assault happened after Trump requested her shopping advice.
The accusation was initially made by Carroll in a chapter from her book that New York Magazine published in 2019.
Carroll initially filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump in 2019, but she was unable to add a rape allegation since the statute of limitations for the purported crime had already passed.
However, a new legislation that provides compensation to victims of sexual assault decades after assaults may have occurred went into force in New York in November of last year.
It enabled victims of sexual assault in the state a year to file a lawsuit against their accused abusers, even if the incident happened a long time ago.
When Trump was charged in the hush-money case earlier this month, he became the first sitting or former president to ever be charged with a felony.
Additionally, he is under investigation for his attempts to have a Georgian election in 2020 that he lost, for allegedly handling confidential information that were seized from the White House, and for his participation in the January 6, 2021 takeover of the US Capitol.