Judge lets ‘Access Hollywood’ tape into Trump rape trial

NEW YORK (AP) – Former President Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about women in an “Access Hollywood” tape can be heard at a civil trial resulting from a columnist’s claims that he raped her in the 1990s, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said lawyers for E. Jean Carroll can use the 2005 taped remarks by Trump to support her claims that she was attacked by Trump in the dressing room of a posh Manhattan department store.

She sued Trump for defamation after he denied the rape ever happened or that he knew the former longtime Elle magazine columnist after she first described in a 2019 book her encounter with Trump in late 1995 or early 1996.

In the tape, the former president boasts graphically about how celebrities can molest women.

“In this case, a jury reasonably could find, even from the Access Hollywood tape alone, that Mr. 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,” Kaplan wrote.

A trial is scheduled for next month, but the judge has not yet specified whether it will include her defamation claims or will only pertain to rape accusations she made in November after New York state temporarily changed laws to let adult rape victims sue their abusers, even if attacks occurred decades ago.

Carroll maintains that a friendly chance encounter between herself and Trump at a Manhattan department store turned violent when both of them entered a dressing room to supposedly try on lingerie that Trump wanted to purchase for a friend. She claims he raped her there.

The judge also said he’ll allow jurors to hear testimony from two women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

In an October deposition for the upcoming trial, Trump was dismissive of Carroll’s claims, saying: “Physically she’s not my type,” though he misidentified her as an ex-wife of his when he was shown a photograph.

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, confronted him with claims that two dozen other women have made against him, asking if any are true.

“I would say. I mean, I don’t see any. I mean, you haven’t shown me anything,” Trump responded, according to the transcript.

The Access Hollywood tape was revealed just weeks before Trump won the November 2016 presidential election.

In the tape, he said that sometimes when he sees beautiful women: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” And he added that, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” including grabbing women between their legs.

Afterward, he issued a rare apology, saying the comments were “locker room banter” caught on a hot mic.

In excerpts of his deposition for the April 25 trial, Trump said it’s been largely true “over the last million years” that celebrities can grab at women they find attractive. “Unfortunately or fortunately,” he added.

“And you consider yourself to be a star?” Kaplan asked.

“I think you can say that, yeah,” Trump responded

Lawyers did not immediately comment on the judge’s ruling.

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