E. Jean Carroll lawsuit: Judge says jury can see ‘Access Hollywood’ tape


A federal judge on Friday said that E. Jean Carroll, in her defamation case against former President Donald Trump, can use as evidence the testimony of two other sexual assault accusers as well as the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which he bragged about being able to grope women.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected Trump’s request that the judge block the accusers from testifying at trial. Trump also asked the judge to block the Access Hollywood tape from being played at the trial.

Carroll, the former magazine columnist who sued Trump for defamation after he denied raping her in the mid-1990s, has indicated that she will call Natasha Stoynoff and Jessica Leeds, two women who came forward with allegations against Trump in 2016, as well as use their videotaped depositions.

Stoynoff alleged Trump sexually assaulted her when she was reporting an article about Trump and his wife, Melania, for People magazine. Leeds alleged Trump groped her while they were on an airplane together. Trump has denied both allegations, as well as Carroll’s rape claims.

In Friday’s opinion, the judge pointed to court rules passed by Congress in 1994 that say that that in a civil case “based on a party’s sexual assault,” evidence that the defendant committed any other sexual assault may be admitted in trial.

The judge said that, even though Carroll’s case is a defamation case, she must prove Trump sexually assaulted her in order to prevail.

“In consequence, this indeed is a case ‘based on’ a sexual assault even under the categorical approach,” said Kaplan, who sits on the federal bench in the Southern District of New York.

The judge noted that Trump has publicly denied the accusations of the other women Carroll seeks to put on the stand and said that Trump is entitled to put those denials before the jury.

Carroll is also seeking to introduce as evidence statements Trump made during the 2016 campaign about his accusers. Kaplan is deferring on ruling whether those statements are admissible.

Trump’s lawyers had argued that the Access Hollywood tape was “irrelevant and highly prejudicial.” They argued that the testimony of the two other accusers “will offer no relevant or meaningful insight into the central question.”

“We maintain the utmost confidence that our client will be vindicated at the upcoming trial,” Trump attorney Alina Habba said Friday.

A spokesperson for Carroll’s lawyers declined to comment on the new ruling.

The case is set to go to trial in April while awaiting a DC appeals court decision that could determine whether the case proceeds against Trump. Carroll also sued Trump for battery and defamation in a separate lawsuit under a new New York law. The judge has not determined whether the trials will be combined.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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