Trump answers questions under oath in writer’s defamation lawsuit

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Former President Donald Trump answered questions under oath Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit brought by a writer who alleges he raped her in the mid-1990s.

Roberta Kaplan, an attorney for E. Jean Carroll, who was a longtime columnist for Elle magazine, confirmed to NBC News that Trump was deposed on Wednesday. When asked how long the deposition lasted, Kaplan said that information was deemed confidential.

Carroll sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after the then-president denied her allegation that he raped her in an upscale Manhattan department store’s dressing room. The lawsuit claims Trump ruined Carroll’s reputation when he denied her accusation.

A judge ruled last week that the former president must sit for a deposition in the case, rejecting a request by Trump’s lawyers to delay the testimony. Trump’s lawyers had tried to quash the suit by arguing that he was acting in his capacity as president when he denied the rape allegations — an argument that aimed to make the U.S. government the defendant and reduce Carroll’s chances of success given protections for federal employees who are sued for actions on the job.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote that the lawsuit must proceed after being in legal limbo for three years, citing the “advanced age” of Carroll, 77, and Trump, 76, and potential witnesses.

“The defendant should not be permitted to run the clock out on plaintiff’s attempt to gain a remedy for what allegedly was a serious wrong,” Kaplan wrote.

Kaplan noted with disapproval a series of attempts by Trump to delay the collection of evidence in the defamation lawsuit.

“Given his conduct so far in this case, Mr. Trump’s position regarding the burdens of discovery is inexcusable,” he wrote. “As this Court previously has observed, Mr. Trump has litigated this case since it began in 2019 with the effect and probably the purpose of delaying it.”

Trump earlier took aim at Carroll in a post on his social media platform after the judge denied his request to delay the deposition.

“This ‘Ms. Bergdorf Goodman’ case is a complete con job,” Trump wrote.

NBC News has reached out to a Trump spokesperson for comment on Wednesday’s deposition.

Trump has repeatedly denied ever meeting Carroll, saying she was “totally lying” when she accused him of sexual assault.

“I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” Trump told The Hill in 2019.

In a court filing last month, Carroll’s lawyers indicated she plans to sue Trump in November under a new New York statute that permits victims of sexual assault to sue years after an alleged incident.

Adam Reiss and Zoë Richards contributed.



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