Donald Trump's accuser pushes back, saying he attacked her 'whether I screamed or not'

Former US president's lawyer grills E Jean Carroll over her claims

E Jean Carroll arrives for the third day of her civil trial against Donald Trump at Manhattan Federal Court in New York. AFP
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E Jean Carroll, a writer accusing Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s, pushed back during cross-examination on Thursday, saying: “He raped me whether I screamed or not.”

Asked why she did not scream during Mr Trump's alleged attack, Ms Carroll said she was panicked and “not a screamer” by nature.

“People always ask, 'Why didn’t you scream?' It keeps women silent,” Ms Carroll said.

She forcefully denied the lawyer's accusation that she waited more than two decades to come forward to sell more copies of her 2019 memoir.

Under cross-examination in Manhattan federal court, Ms Carroll said she went public about her encounter with Mr Trump in a luxury department store after rape allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced in 2017.

Ms Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, said the Weinstein disclosures prompted many other women to come forward with their accounts of sexual abuse.

“It caused me to realise that staying silent does not work,” Ms Carroll said under questioning from Mr Trump's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, on the third day of a trial in her civil case against the former president.

“Woman after woman stood up,” Ms Carroll told the six-man, three-woman jury. “I thought, well, this may be a way to change the culture of sexual violence.”

After dozens of questions from Mr Tacopina about her failure to scream, Ms Carroll lost patience and raised her voice. “I'm telling you: he raped me whether I screamed or not,” she said.

Ms Carroll had given evidence on Wednesday that Mr Trump, who had been shopping at Bergdorf Goodman for lingerie for another woman, coaxed her into a dressing room, slammed her into a wall and raped her.

Mr Trump has consistently denied Ms Carroll's allegations and said she made them up to sell her memoir and hurt him politically — a theme Mr Tacopina touched on.

The former president has not attended the trial and is not required to be there.

Ms Carroll is suing Mr Trump for battery under the Adult Survivors Act, a 2022 New York state law letting adults who claim they were sexually abused to sue their alleged attackers even if statutes of limitation have run out.

She is also suing for defamation over an October 2022 post by Mr Trump on his Truth Social platform in which he called the rape a hoax and scam, saying Ms Carroll was “not my type” and accusing her of concocting a tale to sell her memoir.

On Thursday, prior to cross-examination, Ms Carroll finished being questioned by her lawyer Michael Ferrara.

She maintained that suing Mr Trump was a means of “getting my name back” and denied she did it for publicity or revenge.

Ms Carroll said she had been subjected to a “wave of slime” from “almost an endless stream of people” who repeated Mr Trump's social media post.

The trial is expected to run one to two weeks.

Updated: April 28, 2023, 10:56 AM