Former President Donald Trump mistook a 1980s photograph of New York author E. Jean Carroll, who claims he raped her more than two decades ago, for an image of his ex-wife Marla Maples during a deposition, according to a partially unsealed transcript in Carroll’s defamation suit.
The slip-up during his October 19 testimony could be used by Carroll at trial to undercut the claim by Trump, who denies the rape allegation, that she isn’t his “type.” The testimony was cited by her lawyer Roberta Kaplan in a redacted January 12 filing made public on Wednesday.
Carroll, a former Elle magazine advice columnist, in 2019 went public with her claim that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s. She sued Trump for defamation after he called her a liar from the White House. He doubled down in an October 12 post on his Truth Social platform.
“It is a hoax and a lie just like all the other hoaxes that have been played on me for the past seven years, and while I’m not supposed to say it, I will. This woman is not my type!” Trump said in the post.
But during Trump’s deposition, Kaplan showed Trump the 1987 photograph of him with his then-wife Ivana Trump, chatting and smiling broadly with Carroll and her then-husband at a black-tie party. In the photo, Carroll is looking up at Trump and laughing.
When asked by Kaplan when he’d first seen the photo, Trump at first said he didn’t “know the woman, but then said, “It’s Marla,” according to the transcript.
“You’re saying Marla is in this photo?” Kaplan asked Trump.
“That’s Marla, yeah,” Trump said. “That’s my wife.”
Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, interjected to correct him. “No, that’s Carroll,” Habba said.
“Oh, I see,” Trump responded.
“The person you just pointed to was E. Jean Carroll,” Kaplan said, according to the transcript.
Trump married Maples six years after the photograph was taken. She gave birth to his daughter Tiffany Trump.
Habba didn’t immediately return a call Wednesday seeking comment.
The implied criticism of Carroll’s appearance is one of several remarks at the center of her 2019 defamation suit against Trump. Carroll also claims Trump defamed her by saying she fabricated the assault to sell a book and falsely claiming she made similar allegations against other men.
During the deposition at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the former president repeatedly emphasized that he was not attracted to Carroll. Asked why he felt he should phrase his denial in such terms, he defended his choice of words.
“She’s accusing me of rape, a woman that I have no idea who she is,” Trump said. “It came out of the blue. She’s accusing me of rape — of raping her, the worst thing you can do, the worst charge.”
Kaplan then asked Trump if the point of saying Carroll is not his type is “to persuade people that you didn’t rape her because she wasn’t attractive enough; correct?”
“When I say she’s not my type, I say she is not a woman I would ever be attracted to,” Trump said. “There is no reason for me to be attracted to her. I just — it’s not even meant to be an insult.”
Maples, who was Trump’s second wife, isn’t involved in the matter. She married him at his Plaza Hotel property in Manhattan in 1993. They divorced in 1999. Trump married his current wife, Melania, in 2005, and they have one son, Barron.
Maples attended Ivana Trump’s funeral with her daughter Tiffany.
The case is Carroll v. Trump, 20-cv-07311, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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