NEW YORK — Donald Trump will not testify in the civil lawsuit accusing him of raping a woman in the mid-1990s, the former president’s lawyer said at trial in Manhattan federal court Tuesday.
E. Jean Carroll, the woman who brought the lawsuit, alleges Trump raped her in a dressing room in the lingerie department of luxury Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman. She is suing him for battery and defamation. He has denied her claims, saying the alleged incident “never happened.”
Trump’s testimony hadn’t seemed likely. He hasn’t attended any of the trial, which began a week ago, and the courthouse hasn’t appeared to make any security changes to accommodate the presence of a former president who has Secret Service protection.
But Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina had demurred when asked several times by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan whether Trump would testify, leaving the option open.
On Tuesday, however, Tacopina informed Kaplan that Trump had decided against taking the witness stand.
The jury, however, will hear from Trump, albeit not live or in person. An attorney for Carroll said she expects to play about 45 minutes of a videotaped deposition of Trump for jurors.
Jurors heard from a variety of witness on Tuesday, including a friend of Carroll’s, Lisa Birnbach, who testified that Carroll called her about five minutes after the alleged incident at Bergdorf’s and, “breathless” and “hyperventilating,” told Birnbach that Trump had attacked her. Jurors also heard from a woman named Jessica Leeds, who has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her on an airplane in the late 1970s.