Washington: Fresh from his victory in the Iowa caucuses, former US President Donald Trump attended the first day of a $10 million defamation trial filed by columnist E. Jean Carroll for sexually abusing and making defamatory statements against her.
Jean Carroll (79) had accused Trump of raping her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, and then branding the incident a hoax in an October 2022 post on his Truth Social platform.
The trial that began on Tuesday is to determine whether Trump harmed her with the defamatory statements and if so, how much money he must pay her in compensation, the BBC reported.
Last May, a different jury trial found that Trump had sexually assaulted and defamed Carroll.
The findings of that case are considered relevant in the new trial.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Trump, who was seated a few rows behind Jean Carroll, stared at the columnist who he claims he had “never met, saw, or touched… and knows absolutely nothing about”.
On her part, Carroll did not appear to look at him and faced towards the bench for nearly all of the proceedings, allowing Trump only a view of her back.
Trump also remained quiet.
One of Carroll’s attorneys, Shawn Crowley said the jury will need to consider “how much money Donald Trump should have to pay for what he’s done”.
“How much money will it take to make him stop,” the BBC quoted Jean Carroll as saying.
Crowley also told the court the former President had “unleashed his followers to go after” Carroll “to threaten her life”.
As Trump continues to attack Jean Carroll on Truth Social, his official account put out more than two dozen posts on Tuesday while he was sitting in court, calling the case “PURE FICTION”.
Carroll is expected to testify on Wednesday and the case is scheduled to wrap on Thursday.
But the judge, Lewis Kaplan, has ruled Trump will be allowed to testify on January 22.