The most damning witness in Donald Trump’s rape trial was the former president himself, E. Jean Carroll’s lead attorney said in her final plea to a New York jury Monday morning, summing up the former president’s long history of self-incriminating and misogynistic statements.
“No one, not even the former president, is above the law,” attorney Roberta Kaplan said in closing arguments. “In a real sense, Donald Trump is a witness against himself.
Carroll’s legal team put together an hour-long presentation that showed the real estate mogul’s ugliest side, directly comparing his porky brags about his treatment of women to the current case, where nine jurors will decide whether Trump raped the advice columnist during the fitting room of a high-end fashion store in Manhattan.
The most damning example came from the past 2005 Access to Hollywood a tape in which Trump was caught bragging about how celebrities like him can abuse their fame to take advantage of women and “grab their pussies.” Kaplan compared that to how he responded under oath during a deposition last year, when Trump told Kaplan that the stars had long since aligned on that, “unfortunately or fortunately.”
“He actually said luckily?” Kaplan told the jury incredulously. “Let this be understood for a moment… he thinks stars like him can get away with it. And he thinks he can get away with it here,” she said.
“He grabbed her pussy — or vagina, excuse my language — and put his fingers inside her,” Kaplan added later, looking visibly uncomfortable.
Jurors were again told that Carroll was not the only woman accusing him of a sex crime, although she was the only one prosecuting. Jurors also heard personal testimony from Jessica Leeds, a woman who said Trump groped and kissed her on a plane sometime around 1978, and Natasha Stoinov, who said Trump assaulted her at his beachfront estate in Florida Mar- a-Lago while she was on assignment there for people magazine in 2005.
Kaplan told them Trump was following “the same game” he described in the Access Hollywood tape. “He tells you in his own words how he treats women,” she said.
For years, Trump’s defense in this case has been that Carroll is not his “type.” And that made another piece of evidence all the more damning.
Jurors were speechless Monday as Kaplan looked at another piece of evidence that had the courtroom crowd gasping earlier in the trial: the moment during Trump’s deposition when he embarrassedly saw a photo of Carroll next to him at a party and mistook it for identified as his ex-wife Marla Maples. One of Trump’s lawyers in the case, Alina Haba, could be heard interjecting repeatedly to correct him in a hopeless effort to save her client.
“She was just his type. And believe it or not, he repeated it twice,” Kaplan told jurors. “Miss. Carroll, a former cheerleader and Miss Indiana, was just his type.”
The lawyer reminded jurors that Carroll’s seemingly unexpected behavior — keeping the dress she was in at the time of the alleged assault, watching The Apprentice on NBC, even though it was a Trump TV show and she often returned to shop at Bergdorf Goodman — it made sense, because doing the opposite would have forced her to acknowledge a traumatic experience she’d been trying to bury in her past for years.
Kaplan also ripped Trump for missing the trial, though he failed to mention that he actually spent his time golfing in Ireland and Scotland while angrily posting on social media about his utter disdain for the case.
“You only saw it on video,” she said. “He didn’t even bother to show up here,”
Carroll’s team reminded jurors they had two things to decide: whether Trump raped the Soviet journalist when she was 52, and whether or not he defamed her in a Truth Social post last year.
However, in perhaps the most surprising moment in her closing speech, Kaplan did not even mention how much money her side was seeking in damages. Although a marketing expert during the trial suggested it could cost $1 million to $3 million to repair the damage to Carroll’s reputation, Kaplan didn’t even bring it up to jurors, choosing instead to remind them that this case didn’t it’s about the money.