Former U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during an event held to address the recent derailment of a train carrying hazardous waste, in East Palestine, Ohio, U.S., February 22, 2023.
Alan Freed | Reuters
A federal judge on Friday ruled that the “Access Hollywood” tape revealing former President Donald Trump bragging about groping women without their prior consent could be used as evidence in a civil trial where he is accused of defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll after she claimed her raped in the mid-1990s.
Judge Lewis Kaplan also ruled that testimony from two other women who say that Trump sexually assaulted them years ago in separate incidents can be introduced into evidence at the trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Kaplan in his decision wrote, “Most of the evidence that Mr. Trump seeks to keep from the trial jury is to the effect that Mr. Trump allegedly has abused or attempted to abuse women other than Ms. Carroll in ways that are comparable to what he allegedly did to Ms. Carroll.”
Trump, 76, has denied raping the now-79-year-old Carroll, who says he attacked her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman’s department store after a chance encounter there in 1995 or 1996.
Carroll’s suit alleges that Trump defamed her in 2019 after she went public with her claim by saying she was lying, and motivated by politics and money to make up the account.
“In other words,” the judge wrote, “Ms. Carroll offers the evidence to show that Mr. Trump has a propensity for such behavior.”
The “Access Hollywood” tape, was recorded in 2005 but only became public just before the 2016 election, when Trump was first seeking the presidency.
“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump says on that tape.
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. “Grab ’em by the p—-.”
Trump has repeatedly claimed that his remarks on the tape are “locker room talk,” and do not reflect his actual conduct.
But Kaplan in his ruling wrote, “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 had attempted to do so.”
Because of that, and other evidence, the tape satisfies a rule that allows evidence of another sexual assault to be introduced in a civil case involving an alleged sexual assault, Kaplan wrote.
Kaplan for the same reason ruled that the claims against Trump by two other women who have given depositions in the case, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, can be heard by jurors.
Leeds testified in her deposition that in 1979 Trump tried to kiss her, grabbed her breasts and put his hand up her skirt on an airplane after a stewardess invited her to sit next to him in first class.
Stoynoff testified that in 2005, when she was writing an article for People magazine about his one-year wedding anniversary with Melania Trump, he grabbed her, pushed her against a wall and began kissing her in a room at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump’s attorney Joseph Tacopina declined to comment on the ruling by Kaplan.
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