Lawyers for E. Jean Carroll rested her civil case against Donald Trump on Thursday, shortly after jurors were shown a deposition video of the former president confusing her with his ex-wife Marla Maples.
The defense also rested its case, but the judge left open the possibility for Trump, who had said he wouldn't appear in person, to take the witness stand in his own defense, giving him until 5 p.m. Sunday to change his mind.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said he would consider reopening the defense case "in the interest of justice" if Trump does have a change of heart.
If he doesn't, the trial would move to closing arguments Monday.
Trump’s lawyers said Wednesday that he will not testify and that they are not putting on any witnesses — a position Trump attorney Joe Tacopina reiterated at the end of court Thursday when he rested. He told the judge that he'd spoken to Trump on Thursday morning and that Trump had waived his right to testify.
Trump, however, told reporters on a golf course in Ireland on Thursday that he was “going back to New York” because of the case.
Trump suggests a return to NYC to 'confront' E. Jean CarrollMay 4, 202302:32
Asked whether he was going to the trial, he said, “I’ll probably attend,” according to a Sky News video of his remarks. “She’s a fake,” he said of Carroll. “It’s a disgrace.”
The judge noted the reports from overseas in making his ruling. In his remarks in Ireland, Trump also criticized the judge, calling him "rough."
Kaplan said if Trump decides he doesn't want to testify by Sunday, "that ship has sailed." He also added he wouldn't necessarily grant the request to reopen the trial if Trump changes his mind, but he said it is "a possibility."
While the jury didn't see Trump in person Thursday, jurors did see him on video screens in the courtroom from a deposition he sat for in the case in October.
"It's Marla," Trump said in one of the excerpts when he was shown a picture of him, Carroll and Carroll's ex-husband in the 1980s.
"That's Marla, yeah. That's my wife," Trump continued before he was corrected by his lawyer Alina Habba. "No, that's Carroll," Habba said. Trump then responded the photo was "very blurry."
Carroll has sued Trump for battery and defamation, charging he raped her in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store in the 1990s and then falsely accused her of concocting a "hoax" after she went public with her claim in 2019.
In the excerpts played for the jury in federal court in Manhattan, Trump maintained that despite the Maples mixup, Carroll was "not my type." Later, he was asked whether the three women he'd married were his type. "Yeah," he answered.
Trump also acknowledged that when Carroll went public with her claims in a book she'd written, the then-president accused her of trying to boost her sales with a made-up story for financial and political reasons — even though at that point he didn't know her political affiliation, her financial situation or her publisher.
Asked what the basis for his allegations were, Trump answered, "I don't know."
At other times in the video he was more combative, and he repeatedly insulted Carroll throughout the deposition, calling her a "whack job" and "sick," among other insults.
Trump has repeatedly denied her rape allegation and said he'd been outspoken while defending himself publicly because he was "offended at this woman’s lie.”
"She is a sick person, in my opinion. Really sick. There is something wrong with her," Trump said.
In the deposition, Trump also mocked two other women who've accused him of sexual misconduct: Jessica Leeds, a retired stockbroker, and Natasha Stoynoff, a former People magazine reporter.
Both testified at the trial. Leeds claims Trump groped her on a plane flight to New York in the late 1970s, while Stoynoff says Trump accosted her when she went to interview him and his wife, Melania Trump, in 2005.
Trump called Leeds' allegations "ridiculous" and Stoynoff's claims "a phony charge."
Carol Martin, a longtime friend of Carroll's who is one of two people Carroll said she told about the attack shortly after it happened, testified live before the jury Thursday.
Martin said she had advised Carroll not to report the incident to the police. "He has lots of attorneys," Martin said she told Carroll. "He would bury her."
Martin said she now regrets having given Carroll that advice: "I'm not proud of that."
As for Carroll's claim itself, Martin said, "I believed it then, and I believe it today."
Ashlee Humphreys, a sociology professor at Northwestern University, was one of the final witnesses. Humphreys estimated it would cost up to $2.7 million for Carroll to try to repair the damage done to her reputation by Trump's statements.
Carroll is also seeking unspecified money damages for battery, as well as emotional harm and damage caused by the attack.