The civil battery and defamation trial for columnist E. Jean Carroll against former President Donald Trump is set to begin Tuesday.

Carroll alleges Trump forcibly raped and groped her in a Manhattan luxury department store dressing room in the mid 1990’s. Trump denies the charges and has said Carroll is “not my type.â€

Unlike his dramatic courtroom appearance in New York state court earlier this month, Trump is unlikely to appear in the Manhattan federal courtroom, his lawyers have said, unless he is called to testify in Carroll’s case or opts to take the stand in his own defense. Because it is a civil case, he is not required to appear.

Jury selection begins Tuesday and the trial is expected to last up to two weeks.

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Trump is not being criminally prosecuted on Carroll’s rape allegations. Carroll did not specify an amount in her civil lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court but is seeking monetary damages and a retraction of an October 2022 social media statement Trump made about Carroll.

Nearly four years after Carroll first went public with the allegations in 2019, a jury is expected to be empaneled. Federal District Judge Lewis Kaplan is expected to winnow down a pool of about 100 prospective jurors.

The attorneys have asked the judge to quiz the jury pool on issues like their potential biases and their knowledge of Carroll, Trump and the pending legal matters Trump is facing in unrelated cases like his recent indictment in New York County criminal court.

The jury will remain anonymous to the public and the attorneys, the judge ruled. The decision was in part influenced by Trump’s threats to the state Supreme Court judge overseeing his criminal case in New York.

Attorneys for Carroll and Trump could give opening statements late in the day Tuesday.

Carroll filed the suit last November under New York’s 2022 Adult Survivors Act that opened a look-back window for sexual assault allegations like Carroll’s with long-expired statutes of limitations.

The former Elle columnist first came forward with her story in June of 2019 publishing an excerpt from her book “What Do We Need Men For†in New York Magazine ahead of the book release.

“And, while I am not supposed to say it, I will. This woman is not my type,†Trump wrote on Truth Social.

“In the meantime, and for the record, E. Jean Carroll is not telling the truth, is a woman who I had nothing to do with, didn’t know, and would have no interest in knowing her if I ever had the chance. Now all I have to do is go through years more of legal nonsense in order to clear my name of her and her lawyer’s phony attacks on me. This can only happen to ‘Trump’!â€

The lawsuit argues the denial of Carroll’s allegations is defamatory and caused her emotional, reputational and professional harm.

Carroll’s account of the alleged rape after encountering Trump at Bergdorf Goodman in the fall of 1995 or spring of 1996 is detailed in the lawsuit.

She recalled telling Trump she was 52 at time. Both are now in their 70’s.

She helped Trump shop for “a girl†when he recognized her leaving the store, Carroll says.

“Hey, you’re that advice lady!†he said to her, according to the lawsuit. “Hey, you’re that real estate tycoon!†she replied.

Trump steered what started out as light-hearted shopping to the lingerie department where he suggested Carroll try on a bodysuit, the suit alleges. Carroll says Trump then guided her toward a dressing room, where she jokingly suggested he try on the lingerie.

Once in the dressing room Trump “lunged at Carroll, pushing her against the wall, bumping her head quite badly, and putting his mouth on her lips,†according to the lawsuit. With Carroll fighting back, Trump pushed her against the wall again, “jammed his hand under her coatdress and pulled down her tights,†the lawsuit says.

“Trump opened his overcoat and unzipped his pants. Trump then pushed his fingers around Carroll’s genitals and forced his penis inside of her,†the suit alleges.

Carroll eventually pushed him off with her knee and ran out of the dressing room to exit the store, according to the lawsuit.

The former president categorically denies that the interaction and assault ever happened.

After Carroll went public, Trump said he “never met this person.â€

Trump’s counsel has made several legal attempts to dismiss the litigation with Carroll and once tried to countersue her, alleging Carroll violated New York’s anti-SLAPP law prohibiting frivolous defamation lawsuits – a claim rejected by Judge Kaplan.

Carroll first sued Trump for defamation in 2019 for statements he made denying the allegations at the time. That case has been paused pending further litigation about how to handle the case because Trump was president when he made the statements at issue in the lawsuit.

Attorneys for the career advice columnist have indicated that Carroll will likely take the stand to tell her account to the jury.

Trump, however, is unlikely to appear in the Manhattan federal courtroom, his lawyers have said, unless he is called to testify in Carroll’s case or opts to take the stand in his own defense.

Trump’s attorney told the court that Trump wanted to attend the trial but claimed it would be a burden on the city and court staff to accommodate him given the security protection he receives.

Judge Kaplan has not decided whether he’ll instruct the jury about Trump’s absence from the defense table.

Jurors are expected to see at least some parts of Trump’s video deposition taken last October for this case. Excerpts of the deposition were previously unsealed in court filings ahead of the trial.

Carroll’s lead attorney, Roberta Kaplan, a civil attorney who’s represented women in high-profile sexual assault litigation like victims of Jeffrey Epstein, indicated that her team can put on Carroll’s case without Trump making an appearance. (Carroll’s attorney and the judge are not related.)

Two longtime friends of Carroll, who’ve confirmed that she confided in them soon after the alleged incident more than two decades ago, can testify to corroborate Carroll’s story, Judge Kaplan ruled over objections from Trump’s legal team.

Carroll has said when she confided in journalist Lisa Birnbach, her friend told her she’d been raped and should report the incident to the police at the time.

When she told former local TV anchor Carol Martin a day or so later, Martin warned Carroll that she was no match for Trump’s army of lawyers and said it was best to keep it to herself – which is ultimately what Carroll did until 2019, she says.

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Two other women who allege Trump physically forced himself on them can also testify about their allegations, the judge ruled.

Jessica Leeds has alleged that Trump, seated next to her on a plane, groped her on a flight from Texas to New York in 1979. Leeds, who first came forward during the 2016 presidential election, said in a deposition for this case that Trump acknowledged remembering her from the plane when she saw him at an event sometime after the alleged incident.

People Magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff similarly alleges that Trump groped her and tried to forcibly kiss her in 2005 when Stoynoff was at Mar-a-Lago to interview Trump and a then-pregnant Melania Trump on their first wedding anniversary.

Attorneys for Carroll are expected to show the jury a black and white photo of Trump where he is interacting with several people, including with his then-wife Ivana, Carroll and her then-husband.

A transcript of his October 2022 deposition revealed that Trump mistook Carroll for his ex-wife Marla Maples when he reviewed the photo during the deposition.

“I don’t know who – it’s Marla,†Trump said when shown the photo. “That’s Marla, yeah. That’s my wife,†he says when asked to clarify.

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, then interjected and said “no, that’s Carroll,†according to the transcript.

Carroll’s lawyers have said the photo proves Trump had in fact met Carroll and she could be his “type.â€

Trump’s comments on the 2016 campaign trail denying allegations from Leeds and Stoynoff can also be admitted as evidence, the judge ruled.

Like Carroll, Trump has asserted that the allegations are false and implausible in part because the women aren’t attractive or his ‘type.’

Jurors may also hear the controversial “Access Hollywood†tape on which Trump can be heard telling show host Billy Bush how he would use his stardom to aggressively come on to women.

Trump has chalked up his graphic language on the tape, which first surfaced during his 2016 Presidential election campaign, as “locker room talk†that wasn’t actually true.

Judge Kaplan ruled that a jury could reasonably find that Trump admitted in the Access Hollywood Tape “that he in fact has had contact with women’s genitalia in the past without their consent, or that he has attempted to do so,†and the jury may view accounts from Leeds and Stoynoff as support for that argument.
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