NEW YORK (AP) — The infamous “Access Hollywood” video in which Donald Trump bragged about grabbing women sexually without asking was played Wednesday for a jury considering columnist E. Jean Carroll’s claims that he raped her two decades before he became president.
Before the video was shown, Trump’s legal team said it would not call any witnesses in the case, raising the possibility that jurors could begin deliberations sometime next week.
The 2005 video was played in Manhattan federal court, along with excerpts of Trump’s videotaped deposition. The videos were presented to jurors on the same day that onetime People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff testified that Trump forcibly kissed her against her will while showing her around his Florida home for a 2005 article about the first anniversary of his marriage to Melania Trump.
Trump lawyers unsuccessfully challenged the video and Stoynoff’s testimony prior to the start of the trial. Stoynoff testified that she was “horrified” when the tape was made public just weeks before the 2016 presidential election.
“The horrifying part to me was that I worried, because I didn’t say anything at the time, other women were hurt by him so I had to regret,” she said.
Stoynoff became emotional as soon as the subject was raised of her December 2005 trip to interview Trump and Melania at the Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, where she said Trump cornered her alone in a room and began kissing her after saying he wanted to show her a great room.
She grabbed a tissue as she began describing the encounter that she said lasted several minutes.
Stoynoff, a Canadian, said she entered the room first, “thinking, ’Wow, really nice room, wonder what he wants to show me.”
Then, she recalled, the door shut behind her, and Trump soon “had his hands on my shoulders, pushed me against the wall and started kissing me.”
“I tried to push him away,” Stoynoff said. She said she did not recall anything she had said to prompt the attack, and she did not recall anything Trump said either.
“He came toward me again, and I tried to shove him again. He was kissing me and, you know, was against me,” she recalled.
She said she was “flustered and shocked” but unable to speak and did not scream. “No words came out of me.”
The encounter ended, Stoynoff said, when a butler entered the room and “he stopped doing what he was doing.”
After Stoynoff and Trump were led to a couch area to wait for Melania, who was changing her clothing, Trump said several things to Stoynoff, including telling her not to forget that Marla Maples, Trump’s second wife, had once bragged to a tabloid that Trump was the best sex she ever had.
Trump has denied that he ever tried to kiss Stoynoff.
Stoynoff’s testimony came two days after Jessica Leeds testified that Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt when they were seated next to each other on a late-1970s flight.
Trump, who has denied ever knowing Carroll, has not attended the trial, and his lawyers say they will call no witnesses after lawyers for Carroll rest, which was expected to occur Thursday.
Trump lawyer Joseph Tacopina said Trump’s legal team decided not to put on a defense case after learning that health issues would prevent their expert witness, a psychiatrist, from testifying. Tacopina previously disclosed that Trump would not testify at the trial.
Trump has denied ever meeting Carroll at the department store or knowing her, saying Carroll’s claims are politically motivated attempts to smear his reputation and deny him the White House.
His lawyers attacked Carroll’s credibility through exhaustive cross-examination, questioning why she didn’t scream out for help during the alleged attack and why she never went to police.
A psychologist testifying on Carroll’s behalf testified Wednesday that it’s common for rape victims to fall silent and blame themselves.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said closing arguments were likely to happen Monday, and the jury would get the case on Tuesday.
For 17 years, Carroll did not speak publicly about her Trump claims. But in a 2019 memoir, she described how a sometimes flirtatious chance encounter with Trump at the store in spring 1996 ended with violence when Trump cornered her in a dressing room after they challenged each other to try on a piece of lingerie.
Psychologist Leslie Lebowitz, right, testifies on direct examination by E. Jean Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, left, in Manhattan federal court, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)