A businesswoman testified Tuesday in E. Jean Carroll’s civil defamation and battery lawsuit in opposition to former President Donald Trump that Trump groped her throughout a flight to New York in 1979, which Carroll’s attorneys mentioned confirmed a sample of habits on Trump’s half.
Jessica Leeds is one among two ladies the court docket has dominated allowed to testify about earlier alleged assaults by Trump, who’s accused by Carroll of slandering the previous Elle journal columnist in a 2022 Fact Social put up , calling her allegations “a hoax and a hoax” and saying “This girl is just not my kind!” as he denied her allegations that Trump raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman within the Nineties.
She added a battery cost underneath a not too long ago handed New York regulation that permits grownup intercourse abuse survivors to sue their alleged attacker whatever the statute of limitations. Trump has denied all allegations of raping or defaming Carroll.
Leeds, who first made her allegations to The New York Occasions simply earlier than the 2016 presidential election, testified that she was on a flight sure for New York when she was wheeled out of her bus seat into first-class and landed subsequent to Trump.
“As I stood up there and sat down, the gentleman on the window launched himself as Donald Trump. We shook arms,” mentioned the then 37-year-old Leeds. “What occurred was they served a meal. And it cleared up and we have been sitting there when out of the blue Trump determined to kiss and grope me.”
She mentioned there was no dialog — “It was out of the blue.”
Leeds described the alleged encounter “like a struggle”, saying: “He tried to kiss me. He tried to tug me in the direction of him. He grabbed my breasts. It was like he had 40 million arms.”
“When he began placing his hand up my skirt it gave me a lift of power,” mentioned Leeds, who mentioned she broke free and “rushed again to my seat at the back of the coach”.
Like Carroll, Leeds didn’t yell or yell in the course of the alleged encounter.
“It by no means occurred to me to scream,” mentioned Leeds. When requested “Why not?” of Carroll’s lawyer, she mentioned, “I don’t know.”
Leeds recalled ready till all different passengers had disembarked earlier than leaving as a result of she didn’t need to danger working into Trump once more. She mentioned she didn’t inform anybody concerning the alleged incident.
“I didn’t inform anybody at work as a result of I didn’t assume they’d be focused on my expertise,” Leeds mentioned. “Again then and there, males may usually afford loads within the working surroundings.”
Leeds mentioned she solely revealed what allegedly occurred to her when Trump first began working for president.
“I began telling my household about it, my children, my pals, my neighbors, my ebook membership, anybody and everybody who would hearken to me,” Leeds mentioned. “I assumed he wasn’t the type of individual we wished as president.”
Trump has denied the allegations.
A good friend of Carroll’s, author Lisa Birnbach, testified earlier Tuesday that Carroll known as her inside “5 to seven minutes” of Trump’s alleged assault on Bergdorf Goodman.
“She instructed me that Donald Trump acknowledged her outdoors or proper within the door of Bergdorf Goodman, requested her to assist him store, and assaulted her upstairs in a dressing room,” Birnbach testified.
Birnbach testified that she “thought it was type of loopy” that Carroll went into the lingerie division with Trump, however she didn’t discover it harmful.
“I had simply spent a couple of days with him,” Birnbach mentioned of Trump, referring to 2 days she spent at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property on February 12, 1996 for an article she was writing for the New York magazines wrote. “He didn’t strike me as harmful.”
Birnbach described the alleged assault when she mentioned Carroll handed it on to her, saying, “He hit out along with his entire arm, pinned her in opposition to the wall along with his arm and shoulders, and used his free hand to tug down her pantyhose.”
“And E. Jean mentioned to me many instances, ‘He pulled my pantyhose down, he pulled my pantyhose down.’ Nearly like she will’t consider it simply occurred to her,” Birnbach mentioned.
“As quickly as she mentioned that, regardless that I knew my children didn’t know the phrase, I ducked out of the room and whispered, ‘E. Jean, he raped you, it’s best to go to the police,’” Birnbach testified.
“She mentioned, ‘No, no, I don’t need to go to the police,’” Birnbach instructed jurors, saying Carroll made her promise, ‘You’ll by no means speak about it once more and promise me you’ll say nobody.’ And I promised her each.”
In earlier statements, Carroll described being in a type of daze when she known as Birnbach after leaving the division retailer and laughing as she relayed her alleged encounter with Trump. It was Birnbach, Carroll mentioned, who instructed her to cease laughing as a result of she was raped.
“And even when Lisa mentioned it, I actually needed to work to know it,” Carroll testified. “Lisa is the one who acquired my mind targeted for that second. That’s what Lisa mentioned.”
Birnbach mentioned the account Carroll gave when she went public with the allegation in her 2019 ebook matched what Carroll instructed her within the spring of 1996.
“After studying the excerpt, I known as E. Jean and instructed her how courageous she was and what a superb play it was,” Birnbach mentioned.
“She’s not a sufferer,” Birnbach mentioned. “She doesn’t need anybody’s pity. She’s somebody who, and I believe that’s how she was raised, as an alternative of wallowing, places on lipstick, dusts off and strikes on. I believe that’s how she acquired by means of her life.”
Birnbach instructed the jury that she endorsed Hillary Clinton because the 2016 presidential nominee, was “shocked and upset” that Trump gained, and on her podcast known as Trump a “narcissistic sociopath” who “is an an infection like herpes that we will’t eliminate.”
However, she mentioned, she solely testified “as a result of my good friend, my good good friend who is an efficient individual, instructed me one thing horrible that occurred to her. Consequently, she misplaced her job and her life grew to become very, very troublesome. I’m right here as a result of I need the world to know that she was telling the reality.”
The protection mentioned Carroll was motivated by “political causes” to publicize her allegation in opposition to Trump and subsequently sue him for defamation and assault. Of their cross-examination of Birnbach, the protection questioned her about unflattering issues she had mentioned about Trump on-line and on varied podcasts.
“Keep in mind saying this in a Fb put up, ‘Can it get any worse than Donald Trump? Birnbach requested. He requested if she had mentioned on one podcast, “President Trump, and I don’t like utilizing these two phrases collectively.” On one other podcast, he requested if she had mentioned of Trump, “He’s a madman. He’s a narcissistic sociopath. He’s a vicious sociopath. He’s a Russian agent. He’s dangerous, he’s dangerous, and God is aware of what he can do earlier than he goes.”
Birnbach testified that every one of these issues sound like one thing she would have mentioned.
Within the referral, Carroll’s lawyer, Shawn Crowley, requested Birnbach, “When Ms. Carroll known as you in 1996 and instructed you he had simply assaulted her, was he a political determine?” Birnbach replied, “Under no circumstances.”
“Donald Trump was a well known New Yorker in 1996,” Birnbach mentioned. “He wasn’t in politics. He wasn’t near politics. He was a man who favored publicity and a spotlight, and he was additionally a well known womanizer. My girlfriend wasn’t raped by a president. She was attacked by a man, an actual property agent man.”
“Would you lie to forestall Donald Trump from turning into president?” requested Crowley.
“By no means,” replied Birnbach.
Cross-examined by protection lawyer Joe Tacopina on Monday, Carroll mentioned she didn’t contact police after she was allegedly assaulted by Trump as a result of, as a girl born within the Nineteen Forties, she was a member of the “silent technology.” who haven’t talked about such issues. The trade got here after Tacopina featured a number of of her recommendation columns for Elle journal, by which she steered that her readers ought to name the police within the occasion of a sexual assault or sexual menace.
“There have been quite a few instances the place you could have suggested your readers to name the police,” though Carroll by no means reported her alleged rape to the police, Tacopina instructed Carroll.
“For essentially the most half, I’ve suggested my readers to go to the police,” Carroll replied.
“I used to be born in 1943,” she mentioned. “I belong to the silent technology. Ladies like me have been taught to maintain their heads up and never complain. The truth that I by no means went to the police is no surprise for somebody my age. I’d have accomplished something slightly than name the police.”
The response was dropped from the file for not responding to the query requested, however the trade continued questioning the protection about Carroll’s actions following the alleged assault and their strategies that their habits – not going to police, not offering safety digital camera footage continued to buy at Bergdorf – is at odds with the habits of different victims of sexual assault.
The nine-member jury, made up of six males and three ladies, will weigh Carroll’s defamation and battery claims and rule on potential monetary damages.
Carroll’s lawsuit is her second in opposition to Trump associated to her rape allegation.
She beforehand sued Trump in 2019 after the then-president denied her rape allegations by telling The Hill Carroll “completely lied” and saying, “I say it with nice respect: No. 1, she’s not my kind. No. 2, it by no means occurred. It by no means occurred, okay?” This libel lawsuit grew to become embroiled in a procedural back-and-forth over whether or not Trump, as president, was performing in his official capability as a federal authorities worker when he made the statements.
If Trump finds that he acted as a authorities worker, the US authorities would seem as a defendant on this lawsuit – which means the case can be closed because the authorities can’t be sued for defamation.
This month’s trial comes as Trump visits the White Home for a 3rd time whereas dealing with quite a few authorized challenges associated to the January 6 assault on the Capitol, his dealing with of categorized materials after leaving the White Home and potential Making an attempt to intrude in Georgia’s 2020 faces voting. Fulton County District Lawyer Fani Willis mentioned final week she would determine whether or not to file legal prices in opposition to Trump or his allies this summer season.