A US jury began deliberations on Tuesday on whether to indict Donald Trump for the alleged rape of a former US magazine columnist in the mid-1990s.
If the nine jurors return a verdict in favor of accuser E Jean Carroll, it would be the first time Trump would face legal consequences over sexual misconduct claims.
Trump denied the allegation and was not criminally prosecuted. A New York jury is weighing a civil lawsuit that seeks unspecified damages from him.
Carroll, 79, sued Trump last year, alleging he raped her in a changing room at the luxury Bergdorf Goodman store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in 1996.
The former columnist for Elle magazine also claims that Trump called her a “complete swindle” after she went public with the allegation in 2019.
Trump, 76, the frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination for next year’s presidential election, has called her case a “fraud” and a “lie”.
Carroll told a two-week civil trial that the alleged assault left her feeling “ashamed” and unable to have a romantic relationship.
She said it took her more than 20 years to go public because she was “intimidated” by Trump.
Her lawyers called to testify two other women who testified that Trump sexually assaulted them decades ago.
Former businesswoman Jessica Leeds told a Manhattan federal court that Trump groped her in the business class section of a flight in the United States in the 1970s.
Journalist Natasha Stoynoff said that Trump kissed her without her consent in 2005 during an interview at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Nearly a dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct ahead of the 2016 election that sent him to the White House.
He has denied all the charges and has not been prosecuted on any of them. Carroll’s trial cannot lead to a criminal case.
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Trump did not testify during the proceedings, nor did his defense team call any witnesses.
A video of his swearing in October was shown to the jury. In it, Trump called Carroll a “liar” and a “really sick person”.
His lawyers argued that Carroll invented the allegation “for money, for political reasons and for status”.
She filed her suit under a New York law that gave victims of sexual assault a one-year window to sue their alleged abusers decades after the attacks.
It accused Trump of one count of battery, “when he forcibly raped and groped” Carroll, and one count of defamation for comments that caused “reputational, emotional and professional harm”.
The jury must consider whether Carroll’s attorneys proved her case by a preponderance of the evidence, a lower burden than in criminal trials that require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is one of several legal challenges facing Trump that threaten to complicate his bid to regain the presidency.
Last month, he pleaded not guilty to a criminal count related to secretly paying a porn star just before the 2016 election.
Trump is also being investigated for his efforts to reverse a 2020 election loss in the southern state of Georgia, his alleged mishandling of classified documents taken from the White House and his involvement in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters . ,
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)