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Federal judge rejects Donald Trump’s ‘quid pro quo’ offer to give E. Jean Carroll DNA for other evidence

E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump

E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump

A federal judge has rejected former President Donald Trump’s “quid pro quo” offer to swap his DNA sample for missing pages of E. Jean Carroll’s genetic report.

The ruling means that Trump will not provide DNA sample before trial, ending an evidentiary dispute and talking point brewing for years in Carroll’s rape case.

“Until February 10, 2023, about ten weeks before this case is set to be tried, Mr. Trump has refused to provide his DNA,” Senior U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in a 21-page memorandum opinion. “Moreover, he has employed litigation tactics the effect and probable purpose of which have been to delay Ms. Carroll’s actions against him an object that is significant in view of the fact that Ms. Carroll now is 79 years old.”

In 2019, Carroll went public with allegations that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. Trump denied it to reporters by claiming: “She’s not my type,” sparking Carroll’s original lawsuit for defamation.

Early on in the litigation, Carroll demanded Trump’s DNA sample to compare it to a specimen she said had been left on her dress. The then-president steadfastly denied the requests — until his sudden about-face less than a week ago.

Kaplan notes that there were conditions attached to Trump’s offer to supply his DNA.

“He has offered to provide a DNA sample but only on the condition that I require Ms. Carroll first to turn over to him a previously undisclosed appendix to the DNA report – the report that Ms. Carroll obtained and provided to Mr. Trump years ago,” Kaplan wrote.

“There is no justification for any such deal,” the ruling continues. “Either Ms. Carroll is obliged to supply the omitted appendix or she is not. Either Mr. Trump is obliged to provide a DNA sample or he is not. Neither is a quid pro quo for the other. And the short answer to Mr. Trump’s request is clear.”

That answer, supplied by Kaplan, was no.

“Mr. Trump is not entitled to the undisclosed appendix,” the ruling states. “The time for pretrial discovery in both cases is over, and Mr. Trump never previously asked for it.

Judge Kaplan added that both parties had the opportunity to make DNA analysis an issue in the upcoming April trial — and both, for their own strategic reasons, opted against it.

“Her counsel have had plenty of opportunities in both of the two related cases to move to compel Mr. Trump to submit a DNA sample,” the judge wrote, referring to Carroll’s lawyers. “Had they done so, they almost certainly would have gotten it. But Ms. Carroll’s counsel never moved to compel Mr. Trump to submit a DNA sample. They obviously decided to go to trial without it.”

The ruling contains some insights into what the report found — and didn’t find.

There was “acid phosphate activity,” which is a “presumptive indication of semen,” found on the dress, according to the ruling.

“There was no evidence of sperm,” it also says.

Male DNA was recovered from the sleeve, however.

Kaplan noted that there were good reasons not to advance the search for DNA.

“Starting down the DNA road at this point almost inevitably would lead to further delay for sampling, testing, expert report writing, and depositions of experts,” he wrote. “It almost surely would delay the trial again.”

As of last week, Carroll and Trump have both claimed that the DNA analysis would vindicate them, but the judge noted it’s unclear it would have been a smoking gun.

“Indeed, as is discussed in greater detail below, further proceedings with respect to the DNA on the dress cannot prove or disprove Ms. Carroll’s claim that Mr. Trump raped her and could well prove entirely inconclusive in all respects,” the ruling states.

Carroll filed a separate lawsuit late last year accusing Trump of sexual assault directly after New York temporarily suspended the statute of limitations over such claims with the passage of the Adult Survivors Act.

Read the ruling below:

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."