Former President Donald Trump twice mixed up a decades-old photograph of his rape accuser E. Jean Carroll with his ex-wife Marla Maples, a mistake repeatedly highlighted by opposing counsel in just-unsealed court documents.
The filings, unsealed in response to a request by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, shows Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan flogging the case of mistaken identity to undermine Trump’s comment that Carroll was “not my type.” That was in response to Carroll’s claim that Trump sexually assaulted her in a dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman store in the mid-1990s.
Kaplan characterized Trump’s remarks as a claim that Carroll was “too ugly to rape.
“When confronted with the photo of Carroll and himself from a party before the rape, Trump twice misidentified Carroll as his ex-wife Marla Maples, insisting it was Maples smiling at him in the photo, when in fact the woman he was pointing to was Carroll herself,” a newly unsealed portion of the document states.
Kaplan highlighted the portion of Trump’s deposition to underline the apparent irony.
“That’s Marla, yeah,” Trump said. “That’s my wife.”
“Which woman are you pointing to?” asked Kaplan.
At that point, Trump’s attorney Alina Habba interjected: “No, that’s Carroll.”
“Oh, I see,” Trump said.
Those portions of the transcript have long been public, but the newly unsealed files show how Carroll’s legal team interprets the significance of those revelations.
“Ultimately, Trump’s lawyer had to correct his mistake (which obviously undercut any assertion that Carroll was not ‘his type’),” Kaplan wrote.
Carroll’s team also argued that Trump did minimal research on the allegations before describing her as a political operative with an agenda.
“Trump never read (or even saw) Carroll’s article or book before he set out to destroy her,” the filing states.
The then-president conceded nobody reached out to Bergdorf’s after Carroll went public.
“I didn’t have to reach out to anybody because it didn’t happen,” Trump testified.
Asked whether he knew what political party Carroll belonged to, Trump replied: “I didn’t know that.”
Despite accusing Carroll of a pattern of falsely accusing men of sexual misconduct, Trump did not provide her legal team with a citation — except for unattributed rumor.
“It’s what I heard,” Trump said.
“From whom had you heard it?” he was asked.
“I don’t know,” Trump replied. “I don’t know.”
Carroll’s legal team said that if there was one through line of Trump’s deposition, it was his personal attack against his accuser.
“Trump continuously insulted Carroll in his deposition, stating: ‘It’s a big, fat hoax. She’s a liar and she’s a sick person in my opinion. Really sick,'” the filing notes, quoting a string of invectives.
“'[S]he made it up probably to sell her book or for her own ego, because she’s … a very deranged, sick person, to make it up,’ […] ‘And I think that’s her big claim to fame, you know, that she shook my hand at some celebrity event,’ […] ‘There’s something a little off with her mentally” […]; ‘I will sue her after this is over, and that’s the thing I really look forward to doing[.]’ […] ‘I think she’s a wack job[.]'” […] ‘I know nothing about this nut job[.]’ […] ‘[W]hen people accuse me of something, I think I have a right to be insulting[.]’ […] ‘That’s a sick woman that would say that. Only a sick—there’s something wrong with her[.]'” (Citations omitted)
Though the statements were previously known, they provide insight into how Carroll’s legal team plans to pursue the case.
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