(CN) — His weeklong trial in federal court nearly at the end, former President Donald Trump is now under a bigger magnifying glass after his 48-minute deposition became a matter of public record Friday.
Writer E. Jean Carroll filled the civil lawsuit in November 2019, accusing Trump of raping her in 1996 in the fitting room at the famed Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City.
Trump spent years trying to gutter the case before he finally sat for a deposition with Carroll’s attorneys at Kaplan Hecker & Fink on October 19, 2022. That suit is still pending but the deposition featured heavily at trial over the second set of claims Carroll filled in November 2022.
Wearing a blue suit and tie, Trump is the only one in frame as responds to questions directed at him off-camera from attorney Roberta Kaplan.
Several standout moments can be seen below, as Trump responds to questions about comments on his accusers’ looks, celebrities’ ability to get away with sexual misconduct, and the many “hoaxes” he says he’s fallen victim to.
From his first denial that he’d ever even met Carroll to his deposition in the lawsuit it prompted, Trump repeatedly said of Carroll, “She’s not my type.” At one moment in his deposition, however, Trump mistook Carroll for his second ex-wife, Marla Maples.
The former president looks over a photo from an event in the late 1980s in which Trump and Carroll are pictured alongside Trump’s first wife, Ivana, and John Johnson, a former anchorman to whom Carroll was married at the time.
Looking over the photo, Trump says, “It’s Marla,” before his attorney Alina Habba interjects and corrects him.
Later Kaplan connected the dots, asking: “I take it the three women you’ve married are all your type?” Trump agreed.
The comment of Carroll not being his type, in this context, is more than just an insult, CNN’s chief legal analyst Laura Coates explained Friday after the network aired portions of the video deposition.
“Survivors will tell you rape is about power, it’s not about the laws of attraction. And when you think about it from that perspective, the whole point of him making that statement and leaning into it is to suggest that she had lied about any relationship that they may have had, or interaction in some form of fashion,” Coates said. “He’s essentially backing up his claim that she is a liar.”
“Unfortunately, or fortunately”
Weeks before the 2016 presidential election, the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced recording Trump on a hot mic, boasting about using his celebrity status to aggressively pursue women.
“I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you've a star they let you do it,” Trump says as the show’s then-host Billy Bush laughs along.
“You can do anything,” he continues. “Grab them by the pussy.”
Trump doubled down on those words when asked about them during the deposition, describing the ancient roots of using fame to get away with misconduct.
“Well historically that's true with stars,” Trump says. “If you look over the last million years, I guess that’s been largely true. Not always but largely true. Unfortunately or fortunately.”
“I hope you’re not insulted”
Three women who testified at the weeklong trial accused Trump of sexual assault. In addition to Carroll, Natasha Stoynoff, a journalist who once worked the Trump beat at People magazine, said Trump forcibly kissed her during a 2005 interview at Mar-a-Lago, and retired businesswoman Jessica Leeds said Trump kissed and groped her in a “tussle” on an airplane in 1979 or 1980.
In all three cases, Trump publicly insulted the looks of the women accusing him. During his deposition, Trump was asked about his comments about Leeds, and supplemented his answer by commenting on the looks of the attorney questioning him.
“You wouldn't be a choice of mine either, to be honest with you. I hope you're not insulted,” he says. “I wouldn't in any circumstances have any interest in you.”
“I’ve had a lot of hoaxes played on me”
In another line of questioning, Trump acknowledges that he frequently uses the word “hoax” when responding to criticism and backlash against him. He listed a few of the so-called hoaxes, including the “Russia Russia Russia” hoax, reminding his interviewer that he believes “no collusion” was found during the Robert Mueller investigation.
Trump then agrees he considers mail-in voting to be a hoax — but admits he has voted by mail. He just doesn’t know where those votes go after they are cast.
"I don't know what happens to it once you give it," Trump says. "I have no idea."
Following closing statements, jurors are set to begin deliberating early next week on Carroll's battery and defamation claims against Trump. Both sides rested their cases Thursday, but the judge gave Trump until 5 p.m. Sunday to submit a motion to extend proceedings — for consideration, not a guarantee that it will be granted — should Trump have "second thoughts" and wish to testify in his defense.Follow @NinaPullano
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