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Trump's defense grills E. Jean Carroll about old social media posts in rape allegation trial

In Carroll's last day of scheduled testimony, Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina asked her about old Facebook posts in which she praised Donald Trump's reality show "The Apprentice."
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Donald Trump's defense attorney on Monday wrapped up his cross-examination of writer E. Jean Carroll in the trial over her rape allegation against the former president, asking her about old Facebook posts in which she said she was a "massive" fan of his reality show "The Apprentice."

Carroll, whose lawsuit alleges Trump raped her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s and defamed her by calling her claims a "hoax," acknowledged praising the show on Facebook in 2012, when it was still on the air.

"I was a big fan of the show. Very impressed by it," Carroll said on the witness stand Monday.

"I had never seen such a witty competition on TV, and it was about something worthwhile, competing," she said, adding that while she enjoyed the contestants and the competition, she didn't like the parts with Trump firing people. "I didn’t watch that part," she said.

Carroll, 79, said she posted positively about the show because "two of my friends appeared on it and I wanted to boost it."

She was also asked about a 2012 post in which she asked people whether they would have sex with Trump for $17,000 and could keep their eyes closed during it.

"Yes," she said when she was asked whether she'd written the post. "I made several jokes about Donald Trump."

She later testified under questioning from her lawyer that she wrote the post because "it's much better to laugh than cry," adding, "Laughter picks up my spirits."

Carroll also acknowledged to Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina that in the decades after the alleged attack at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan, she kept shopping at the store.

"It is not a place I am afraid to enter," she said.

In a testy exchange, Tacopina asked Carroll why she had sued Trump but not former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who also denied her claim that he once sexually assaulted her.

"He just denied it," Carroll said of Moonves. "He didn't call me names and grind my face through the mud like Donald Trump did."

As he did in his first day of cross-examination Thursday, Tacopina peppered Carroll with questions about why she never called police to report the attack, which she says occurred in 1995 or 1996.

He noted that in her old advice column in Elle magazine before and after the alleged attack, she repeatedly counseled women who had been sexually abused to call the authorities.

"I was born in 1943," she responded. "Women like us were taught to keep our chins up and never complain. I would rather do anything than to call the police."

She was asked again why she didn't take her own advice on re-direct examination by her lawyer, Michael Ferrara. "Donald Trump had too much power. He knew everyone in New York," Carroll said, adding she also blamed herself for the attack.

He later asked her whether there's any one correct way for a rape victim to act after an attack. "No," she answered.

In her suit, Carroll says Trump's comments demeaning and insulting her since she came forward with her claims in a 2019 book have caused her "emotional pain and suffering at the hands of the man who raped her, as well as injury to her reputation, honor, and dignity."

Tacopina asked her whether her life "has been fabulous" since her book came out.  "I like my life. I say it quite a bit," Carroll said.

She then added that while she'll often say her life is "fabulous," "I put up a front."

"I don’t want people to know I suffer. I would be ashamed if people know what’s actually going on," she said.

Tacopina also asked Carroll about a decade-old "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" episode in which a character talks about role-playing a rape scenario in a dressing room at a Bergdorf Goodman, according to Carroll told Tacopina that she learned about the episode after she went public but that she'd never seen it.

Ferrara asked Carroll whether she made up an accusation based on a popular TV show. "No!" she responded.

Carroll wrapped up her testimony late Monday after three days on the witness stand. The witnesses for Tuesday haven't been announced.

It's unclear whether Trump will testify in his own defense. Carroll's attorneys have said they plan to use his videotaped deposition testimony for their case.

Before court Monday, Tacopina filed a motion asking for a mistrial, arguing that the judge presiding over the case in Manhattan court, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, had made “pervasive unfair and prejudicial rulings” against his client.

Kaplan denied the motion.