In a federal court on Tuesday, a longtime friend of E. Jean Carroll testified that the writer had called her immediately after she claimed Donald Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store. Lisa Birnbach described a phone conversation she had with Carroll in 1996, stating that Carroll sounded emotional and breathless during the call.
Birnbach testified that Carroll had been shopping with Trump in Bergdorf Goodman when he allegedly assaulted her in a dressing room. However, Carroll refused to report the incident to the police and asked Birnbach to keep it a secret.
Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, informed the judge that Trump would not testify in the case. Although Trump is not obligated to appear in court since it is a civil case, his attorneys listed him as one of only two defense witnesses. Trump has consistently denied Carroll’s allegations, once saying she was “not my type.”
Who is Lisa Birnbach?
Birnbach testified voluntarily, stating that she wanted the world to know Carroll was telling the truth. She had kept the incident a secret until Carroll published a book in 2019, where she publicly shared her account. Despite facing online hate for supporting Carroll, Birnbach stood by her friend.
Another woman, Jessica Leeds, also testified on Tuesday. Leeds, an 81-year-old retired stockbroker, accused Trump of groping her on an airplane in the late 1970s. She recounted how Trump suddenly tried to kiss her and grabbed her breast during a flight. Leeds said she never spoke about the incident until 2016 when Trump’s presidential campaign gained momentum.
Trump has denied Leeds’ allegations, and he belittled her when she came forward before the election. Leeds expressed her support for Carroll’s case outside the courthouse, stating that Carroll’s story resonated with her.
The trial continues, and Carroll’s attorney plans to play parts of Trump’s videotaped deposition for the jury. Trump’s decision not to testify raises security concerns in the courthouse, as the judge had sought guidance on the matter. The case will ultimately determine the outcome of Carroll’s battery and defamation claims against Trump.