Trump Will Finally Have to Face Questions About Alleged Rape, Judge Rules

The former U.S. president will be subject to a deposition in the defamation trial against him by columnist E. Jean Carroll.
Former president Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally to support local candidates at the Mohegan Sun Arena on September 03, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
 Former president Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally to support local candidates at the Mohegan Sun Arena on September 03, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump must sit for a deposition as part of a defamation lawsuit over his alleged rape of columnist E. Jean Carroll, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled Wednesday. 

And that deposition is coming up fast. The date is now set for Wednesday, Oct. 19—in just one week.

The ruling, delivered by U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, means Trump is now all but certain to actually have to sit down and answer questions about the incident. 

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Carroll accused Trump in 2019 of raping her in a New York department-store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Trump denied the claim, and accused Carroll of inventing the accusation to help sell a book. Trump’s denial prompted Carroll to launch her lawsuit accusing Trump of defaming her with his denial. 

Trump attempted to delay the deposition, and Kaplan’s decision formally denied that request. Kaplan said he believed Trump’s appeal, which is still pending in federal court in Washington D.C., would not succeed. And in the meantime, forcing Trump to sit for the already-delayed deposition wouldn’t create an undue hardship for Trump, Kaplan said. 

Kaplan’s decision also included a reprimand for Trump’s legal team, which had described Carroll’s legal position as “asinine.” 

“The Court will not tolerate by counsel such inappropriate language again,” Kaplan said. 

Carroll is scheduled to be deposed this Friday. 

Trump, who once infamously boasted of grabbing women by their genitalia, has repeatedly denied allegations from over a dozen women who’ve accused him of sexual misconduct. 

Trump’s failure to delay his deposition adds to his already towering tsunami of legal trouble. Trump faces a criminal investigation in Georgia over his alleged attempt to reverse his 2020 electoral defeat, and another from the Department of Justice over whether he improperly stored highly-sensitive classified information at his Palm Beach residence. 

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and insisted that the swirl of accusations are all part of a Democratic “witch hunt.” 

Trump invoked his constitutional Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a recent deposition in New York, which took place as part of a sweeping investigation into potential fraud at his private company. Trump declined to answer questions even though he had previously said the Fifth Amendment was only for guilty people and “the mob.”

A defendant’s decision to invoke the Fifth cannot be used against them in a criminal trial, but it can be used to draw an adverse inference in a civil lawsuit. In other words, in a civil case, lawyers are allowed to infer that a defendant refused to answer questions because the truth made them look bad.