Trump team won’t call witnesses in E. Jean Carroll defamation trial
▶ Watch Video: E. Jean Carroll testifies before Trump lawyers in civil trial
Former President Donald Trump’s legal team will not call any witnesses to the stand in the ongoing trial stemming from author E. Jean Carroll’s federal battery and defamation lawsuit, Trump’s attorney said Wednesday.
The attorney, Joe Tacopina, told the judge Wednesday that a potential witness, a psychiatrist, will be unable to testify due to a medical issue. Tacopina said Tuesday that the only other person on Trump’s witness list, Trump himself, does not intend to testify.
Defendants are under no obligation to call witnesses at trial and often choose not to, since plaintiffs have the burden of proof to make their case.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, a clinical psychologist who examined Carroll said she endured the effects of trauma from an alleged attack by Trump. Carroll claimed in the suit and on the stand that Trump raped her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s. Trump has denied that allegation and accused Carroll of making up the story in an effort to sell books.
Leslie Lebowitz, a trauma specialist hired by Carroll’s attorneys to examine her, said Wednesday she found during 20 hours of interviews that Carroll “manifests very notable avoidance symptoms, which have curtailed her romantic and intimate life and caused profound loss.”
Lebowitz testified that Carroll appeared to experience trauma that affected her behavior and self-perception, and caused her to shut down in the presence of certain men, like “a metal grate over a storefront window.”
During cross examination, Chad Siegel, an attorney for Trump, pointed out that Lebowitz did not evaluate Carroll for “malingering,” or lying. Siegel argued that meant her conclusions relied upon the assumption that Carroll was telling the truth. Lebowitz said she did not agree with his description.
Other witnesses called by Carroll include two former employees of Bergdorf Goodman, the department store where Carroll has said a chance encounter with Trump turned violent; a friend who said Carroll confided in her the night of the alleged attack; and a woman who said Trump sexually assaulted her on a plane in 1979.
Trump has also denied that allegation.
Carroll is seeking unspecified damages and a retraction of what she has said were Trump’s defamatory comments. Her legal team is on track to finish presenting their case on Thursday, and closing arguments are set to begin on Monday, the judge said in court. The jury could begin deliberations as soon as Tuesday if proceedings stay on schedule.
Clare Hymes contributed reporting.