“Access Hollywood” tape can be used in civil case against Trump, judge rules

The famous tape “Access Hollywood” that he captured Donald Trump saying he can grope women without their consent can be used as evidence in writer E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against the former president, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

The judge too ruled that he will allow the testimony of two women who say they were sexually assaulted by Trump over several decades, allegations that Trump has denied and testimony that his lawyers have also sought to exclude.

Asked about the decision, Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, said: “We maintain the utmost confidence that our client will be vindicated at the next trial.”

Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan declined to comment.

In 2005 hot mic”Access to Hollywood“video, Trump can be heard saying: “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women – I just start kissing, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even have to wait. And when you’re a star, they leave. You can do anything,” he said, including “grab them by the p—-.”

Trump’s lawyers sought to prevent the tape from being used during the civil trial in Carroll’s case against Trump, which is scheduled to begin in federal court in Manhattan on April 10.

A second related case — in which Carroll is suing Trump for alleged infringement and another defamatory comment — is due to begin before the same judge on April 25.

Trump’s lawyers have argued in court documents that the tape is “irrelevant and highly prejudicial,” and “is not even tangentially related to the heart of [Carroll’s] claim” that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s and then lied about his actions when Carroll went public with his accusation.

Trump has denied the rape allegation and called Carroll’s claims “a farce.”

In his ruling on Friday, New York District Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed with Trump’s lawyers that Carroll wanted to use the tape to show that his client has a “propensity for sexual assault” and that type of “propensity” evidence is not generally allowed in a case. civil process.

The judge said there is an exception, however, saying “‘evidence that the [defendant] made any other sexual assault “can be admitted in “a civil case involving a claim for relief based on an alleged sexual assault by a party,” and concluded that was the case here.

The judge noted that Trump dismissed his comments on the tape as “locker room talk” and may have been able to make other arguments about what he said, but at this point “a jury could reasonably find” that ” Trump admitted in the Access Hollywood tape that he has made contact with the genitals of women in the past without their consent, or that he has tried to do so.

The judge used the same logic to say he would also allow the testimony of two other women who said Trump sexually assaulted them, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff.

In her deposition in the case, Leeds testified that Trump began groping her and putting his hand up her skirt when she was seated next to him on a flight from Texas to New York in 1979, the judge wrote. She said that she was able to free herself and move to another place.

Leeds said she ran into Trump at some point later in New York, and told him, “I remember you. You’re the c— from the plane.

“Mr. Trump claimed that Ms. Leeds is a liar and that such an event never happened. And he will have the right to make that argument to the jury,” wrote the judge.

Stoynoff testified that she had her encounter with Trump in 2005, when she went to interview him and his wife, Melania, for People magazine.

She said he offered to show her a painting in one of the rooms and then closed the door behind her, grabbed her shoulders, “pushed me against this wall and started kissing me.”

She said she sent him back twice before he was interrupted by a butler entering the room.

“Mr. Trump has publicly denied any such event occurred,” the judge wrote. “Of course he will have the right to do so before the jury. And the jury could credit the testimony of Mr. Trump in preference to Ms. Stoynoff. But that is for another day.”

CORRECTION (March 10, 2023, 5:21 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article was incorrect when the civil trial in Carroll’s case against Trump is scheduled to begin. It’s April 10th, not April 25th.

This article was originally published in NBCNews.com

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