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‘Access Hollywood’ tape can be used in civil case against Trump

The infamous “Access Hollywood” tape that caught Donald Trump saying he could grope women without their consent could be used as evidence in author E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against the former president , a federal judge ruled Friday.

The judge also ruled that he would allow testimony from two women who say they were sexually assaulted by Trump in separate decades, allegations that Trump denies and testified that his lawyers also asked to be taken out.

Asked about the verdict, Trump’s attorney Alina Habba said, “We are confident that our client will be acquitted at the upcoming trial.”

Carroll attorney Roberta Kaplan declined to comment.

In a 2005 Hot Mike “Access Hollywood” video, Trump can be heard saying, “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do that. You can do anything,” he said, adding, “Catch ’em by the p—-.”

Trump’s lawyers sought to block the use of the tapes during the civil trial in Carroll’s case against Trump, which is set to begin on April 10 in federal court in Manhattan.

A second related case – in which Carroll is suing Trump for alleged rape and a separate defamatory remark – is scheduled to begin before the same judge on April 25.

Trump’s attorneys argued in court filings that the tape was “irrelevant and highly prejudicial”, and “not even tangentially relevant to the original.” [Carroll’s] Claims that Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store changing room in the mid-1990s and then lied about his actions when Carroll went public with her allegations.

Trump has denied the rape allegation and called Carroll’s claims “a hoax”.

In his ruling on Friday, New York-based District Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed with Trump’s lawyers that Carroll wanted to use the tapes to show his client had a “propensity for sexual assault” and that type of “propensity” is not usually considered evidence. But not allowed. civil trial.

The judge noted that there is an exception, however, saying that “‘evidence that [defendant] committed another sexual assault’ could be admitted in ‘a civil case involving a claim for relief on the basis of alleged sexual assault of a party’, and he concluded that was the case here.

The judge said that Trump dismissed his comments in the tapes as “locker room talk” and may be able to make other arguments about what he was saying, but that “a jury could reasonably “Trump admitted” to the Access Hollywood tapes that he had in fact in the past had contact with women’s genitals without their consent, or that he had attempted to do so.

The judge used the same reasoning, saying he would also allow testimony from two other women, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, who said Trump sexually assaulted them.

In her deposition in the case, Leeds testified that Trump began groping her and put his hand up her skirt while she was sitting next to him on a flight from Texas to New York in 1979, the judge wrote. She said she was able to free herself and move to another seat.

Leeds said she met Trump sometime later in New York, and he told her, “I remember you. You’re on the c— plane.”

The judge wrote, “Mr. Trump has claimed that Ms. Leeds is a liar and that such an incident ever occurred. And he will be entitled to argue that to the jury.”

Stoynoff testified that she had an encounter with Trump in 2005, when she went to interview him and his wife, Melania, for People magazine.

She said he offered to show her a painting in a room and then closed the door behind her, grabbed her by the shoulders, “pushed me against this wall and started kissing me.”

She said he pushed her back twice before she was interrupted by a butler coming into the room.

“Mr. Trump has publicly denied any such incident,” the judge wrote. “He would certainly be entitled to do so in front of a jury. And the jury could give credit to Mr. Trump’s testimony in preference to Ms. Stoynoff’s. But that’s for another day.”

Improvement (March 10, 2023, 5:21 PM ET): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated when the civil trial in Carroll’s case against Trump was about to begin. It’s April 10th, not April 25th.



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