One of Donald Trump’s other accusers, called by E. Jean Carroll, broke down in tears on the witness stand Wednesday. Journalist Natasha Stoynoff, a self-described veteran of Trump-beat for People magazine, had written a profile on the then-real estate magnate and Mar-a-Lago private citizen.
‘No words came out of me’
In 2005, Trump and his wife Melania had recently gotten married. Melania had been pregnant at the time. Stoynoff said she was sent to Mar-a-Lago to profile them when Trump led her to a room, allegedly to show her a painting.
When she entered, Stoynoff testified, Trump closed the door and began kissing her. Her voice shook as she began to recount the alleged incident, wiping tears from her eyes. She said the turn of events left her speechless.
“No words came out of me,” she testified. “I tried.”
Throughout the trial, Trump’s legal team questioned Carroll’s testimony that she did not scream, calling it inconsistent with a rape charge. Carroll’s expert psychologist Leslie Lebowitz testified earlier in the day that this is common in sexual assault cases. Stoynoff, for her part, told jurors she was also silent.
“Are you screaming?” asked Carroll’s attorney Michael Ferrara.
“No,” said Stoynoff.
Stoynoff said the alleged assault ended when a butler entered the room. She testified that because she was afraid of Trump’s retaliation and her career, she continued with the rest of the interview and did not mention the alleged incident in her article.
When she came out, Stoynoff said, Trump told her, “Don’t forget what Marla said: Best sex she ever had,” in an apparent nod to an infamous New York Post cover.
Senior U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan allowed Stoynoff and another Trump accuser, Jessica Leeds, to testify in Carroll’s case, finding their accounts similar enough to support the plaintiff’s case within the rules of evidence.
‘Like he had 40 zillion hands’
On Tuesday, Leeds testified that Trump groped her on a plane around 1979.
“He grabbed my breasts, he was — it’s like he had 40 zillion hands and it was a struggle between the two of us,” Leeds testified. “And it was when he started to put his hand up my skirt that it kind of gave me a jolt of strength and I managed to wiggle out of my seat and stormed back to my seat on the bus.”
The accounts of Carroll, Leeds and Stoynoff span a quarter-century apart, but they share striking similarities, including in Trump’s reactions to them.
In each case, Trump suggested that each of the women was unattractive. The former president said of Carroll, “She’s not my type,” though he was mistaken for an old photograph of Carroll with one of his ex-wives, Marla Maples, in a deposition.
He said of Leeds, “She wouldn’t be my first choice,” leading her to share an old photograph of herself with the New York Times.
Trump mocked Stoynoff at a political rally to a roaring crowd by saying, “Look at her. Look at her words. You’re telling me. What do you think? I don’t think so.”
Asked what she thought he meant by that, Stoynoff replied, “I assume he thinks I’m unattractive.”
Before the trial, Judge Kaplan allowed Carroll to show jurors the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump bragged to Billy Bush about grabbing women “by the p–.”
Stoynoff, who was shown the footage in court, testified that she felt “sick to her stomach” when she saw the tape.
Then, Stoynoff said, the thought occurred to her: “Oh, he’s doing this to a lot of women. It’s not just me. It’s not something I’ve done.”
Still, Stoynoff added, her voice shaking, that she felt a lingering sense of guilt.
“I was worried because I didn’t say anything at the time that other women were being hurt by him,” she said.
Trump would later distance himself from his “Access Hollywood” remarks as “locker room talk” when confronted about them by Anderson Cooper at the 2016 presidential debate.
When she saw it, Stoynoff said, “I just felt very upset that he lied to the American people.”
On Thursday, Carroll’s case is expected to rest, and Trump will not present a defense case.
She is showing jurors parts of Trump’s deposition, and she intends to call former TV anchorwoman Carol Martin, one of two women Carroll says she told about the alleged assault.
Cande Carroll, the advice columnist’s sister, told jurors that E. Jean kept her alleged rape from her family. She said they found out when the rest of the world did, through the release of an excerpt of her book, “What Do We Use Men For?” in New York Magazine.
E. Jean Carroll, her sister said, emailed the family with a link to the article. The long silence that preceded it, she said, was in keeping with their Indiana upbringing.
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