Trump rape case: E. Jean Carroll will be able to share the former president's infamous Access Hollywood tape in the upcoming defamation trial

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump had asked a judge to ban his infamous Access Hollywood video from an upcoming defamation trial against him.LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images
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  • E. Jean Carroll is suing Trump for defamation. The trial is slated to start April 10.

  • A judge ruled Friday that Carroll can refer to the Access Hollywood tape during the trial.

  • Carroll sued Trump when he loudly denied her claim that he raped her in the mid-1990s.

Former President Donald Trump's efforts to get his infamous Access Hollywood tape banned from an upcoming defamation trial were foiled by a federal judge on Friday.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled that that the video clip — in which Trump can be heard boasting about sexually assaulting women — can be presented as evidence during E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit against Trump. The case is slated to go to trial next month.

In a 2019 article for New York magazine, Carroll — the longtime Elle advice columnist — accused Trump of raping her in the mid-1990s in a changing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City.

When Trump loudly denied Carroll's story, she sued him for defamation. Carroll has since filed a second lawsuit against Trump for the alleged assault itself, but the Friday ruling pertains only to the first lawsuit.

Trump's attorneys tried to get the Access Hollywood video banned, calling it "irrelevant and highly prejudicial."

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is pictured in 2020.
Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is suing Trump for defamation.Seth Wenig/AP

But Kaplan said the video is relevant because whether a sexual assault occurred is key to the case.

"The core of the alleged defamation in this case, although it is broader, is that Mr. Trump's statements in words and in substance included the assertions that Ms. Carroll lied in claiming that Mr. Trump raped her, that her accusation is a 'hoax.' Thus, in order to prevail on her libel claim, Ms. Carroll must prove that Mr. Trump sexually assaulted her," Kaplan wrote in his ruling. "Unless she proves that sexual assault, she cannot establish that Mr. Trump's charge that her story was a lie and a hoax was false."

Judge Kaplan also ruled that Carroll can call two witnesses who have made sexual misconduct allegations against Trump: Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff.

Both women claim that Trump kissed and groped them without their consent — in Leeds' case on a flight in 1979, and for Stoynoff while interviewing Trump for People magazine in 2005.

Kaplan said that Leeds and Stoynoff's testimony was relevant in a "he said, she said" case where there would be no physical evidence of the alleged crime.

"Ms. Carroll's case, absent these witnesses likely will depend upon her personal credibility in the courtroom, the credibility of two witnesses whom she allegedly told of the alleged rape contemporaneously, and the jury's assessment of Mr. Trump's personal credibility," Kaplan wrote. "Mr. Trump's alleged sexual assaults on Mss. Leeds and/or Stoynoff, if the jury is permitted to hear their testimony and believes it, is likely to weigh heavily in the jury's determination. In consequence, their testimony, if received could prove quite important. Indeed that surely is why Mr. Trump seeks to exclude it."

Also at issue in Friday's ruling was Carroll's request to play several of Trump's campaign speeches at trial, in which he denied sexual misconduct allegations. Kaplan reserved judgment on whether those clips could be played until trial, and ordered that they not be mentioned in opening statements.

When reached for comment on Friday, one of Trump's attorneys, Alina Habba, said, "We maintain the utmost confidence that our client will be vindicated at the upcoming trial."

A representative for Carroll declined to comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider