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Trump answers questions under oath in writer's defamation lawsuit

E. Jean Carroll says Trump damaged her reputation when he denied her allegation that he raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Former President Donald Trump answered questions under oath Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit brought by a writer who alleges he raped her in the mid-1990s.

Roberta Kaplan, an attorney for E. Jean Carroll, who was a longtime columnist for Elle magazine, confirmed that Trump was deposed Wednesday. Asked how long the deposition lasted, Kaplan said the information was deemed confidential.

In a statement, Trump attorney Alina Habba said Trump "was pleased to set the record straight today."

"This case is nothing more than a political ploy like many others in the long list of witch hunts against Donald Trump,” Habba said.

Carroll sued Trump, then the president, for defamation in 2019 after he denied her allegation that he raped her in the dressing room of an upscale Manhattan department store. The lawsuit claims Trump ruined Carroll's reputation when he denied her accusation.

A judge ruled last week that Trump must sit for a deposition, rejecting a request by Trump’s lawyers to delay the testimony. Trump’s lawyers had tried to quash the suit by arguing that he was acting in his capacity as president when he denied the rape allegations — an argument that aimed to make the U.S. government the defendant and reduce Carroll's chances of success given protections for federal employees who are sued for actions on the job.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote that the lawsuit must proceed after having been in legal limbo for three years, citing the “advanced age” of Carroll, 77, Trump, 76, and potential witnesses.

“The defendant should not be permitted to run the clock out on plaintiff’s attempt to gain a remedy for what allegedly was a serious wrong,” Kaplan wrote.

Kaplan noted with disapproval a series of attempts by Trump to delay the collection of evidence in the lawsuit.

“Given his conduct so far in this case, Mr. Trump’s position regarding the burdens of discovery is inexcusable,” he wrote. “As this Court previously has observed, Mr. Trump has litigated this case since it began in 2019 with the effect and probably the purpose of delaying it.”

Trump earlier took aim at Carroll in a post on his social media platform after Kaplan denied his request to delay the deposition.

“This ‘Ms. Bergdorf Goodman’ case is a complete con job,” Trump wrote.

Trump has repeatedly denied having ever met Carroll, saying she was “totally lying” when she accused him of sexual assault.

“I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” Trump told The Hill in 2019.

In a court filing last month, Carroll’s lawyers indicated that she plans to sue Trump in November under a new New York statute that permits victims of sexual assault to sue years after alleged incidents.