E Jean Carroll shuts down combative questioning by Trump lawyer: ‘He raped me, whether I screamed or not’

E Jean Carroll shuts down combative questioning by Trump lawyer: ‘He raped me, whether I screamed or not’

On day three of E Jean Carroll’s civil trial against Donald Trump, the former columnist faced tough cross-examination from Mr Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, and defended herself for not screaming during the alleged rape.

Mr Tacopina pressed Ms Carroll about her previous testimony, in an attempt to discredit her recollection of Mr Trump allegedly assaulting her.

He specifically targeted a portion of Ms Carroll’s testimony where she said she did not scream while Mr Trump was allegedly raping her.

Ms Carroll is alleging that Mr Trump sexually assaulted and raped her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodmans in the mid-1990s.

“I’m a fighter, not a screamer,” Ms Carroll said during her emotional testimony on 26 April.

But Mr Tacopina used Ms Carroll’s quote to further question her on why she did not scream or yell for help while being attacked.

“You can’t beat up on me for not screaming, Ms Carroll told Mr Tacopina.

Mr Tacopina said he was not beating up on her but wondered how there were no witnesses if she was in a department store.

As Mr Tacopina’s questions continued, Ms Carroll said, “Woman are told, you better scream… I’m telling you he raped me whether I screamed or not” according to court reporters.

Discrediting a sexual assault victim because they did not scream, tell their perpetrator “no”, or yell for help is a common method of challenging victims in court.

Ms Carroll said she wishes she screamed because more people would believe her.

Mr Tacopina continued to grill Ms Carroll about how Mr Trump allegedly raped her, questioning the method by which he went about it and why Ms Carroll did not fight back.

The cross-examination was filled with snappy back-and-forths between Mr Tacopina and Ms Carroll as he pressed her on her allegations.

Mr Tacopina asked Ms Carroll to recall the moments leading up to the alleged assault – specifically about her joking interaction with Mr Trump where she requested he try on the lingerie they were shopping for.

“He weighed about 225 pounds in 1996,” Mr Tacopina told Ms Carroll.

Ms Carroll responded, “That’s what made it funny, this manly man.”

Mr Tacopina replied, “That was your plan, to get this large man to put on a not-so-large see-through body suit over his suit pants?”

Ms Carroll had to clarify that her suggestion to Mr Trump was a joke.

At times, Mr Tacopina’s questions were repetitive, like when he asked if there were any witnesses at the department store, leading Judge Lewis A Kaplan to interject and scold Mr Tacopina.

Judge Kaplan said, “It’s not clear if the witness said ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I would hope, Mr. Tacopina, you phrase your questions better so we don’t have to keep doing this.”

Shortly after, Judge Kaplan again scolded Mr Tacopina for bringing up something that was already ruled argumentative.

“In this courtroom, Mr Tacopina, the ruling is the ruling. Move on,” Judge Kaplan said.

At one point, when Mr Trump’s lawyer attempted to pull up a piece of evidence, Judge Kaplan grew frustrated, saying “Look, if you can’t do this, let’s move on.”

By the end of the trial, Judge Kaplan asked Mr Tacopina, “Where are you going with this” and accused him of asking “argumentative questions.”

Most of Mr Tacopina’s cross-examination was focused on corroborating Ms Carroll’s previous statements.

Over and over, Mr Tacopina asked Ms Carroll to recall and confirm statements she previously made in prior testimony or her book, What Do We Need Men For? where she first recounted the alleged rape.

The strategy seemed to be an attempt to discredit Ms Carroll.

However, many of the questions did not lead anywhere significant as Ms Carroll could not recall specific details, like whether Mr Trump used the word “lingerie” or “underwear” while the two were shopping together or what day of the week the incident occurred.

Other questions, like if Ms Carroll went to the police afterward, were determined to be facts of the case. 

Judge Kaplan adjourned the courtroom for the day, with the trial expected to continue on Monday, 1 May.

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