Trump lawyers try to ban ‘Access Hollywood’ tape from trial

Posted at 12:44 AM, February 18, 2023 and last updated 8:59 PM, May 2, 2023

By LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Attorneys for Donald Trump want to ban from his upcoming civil rape trial the “Access Hollywood” tape in which the former president boasts graphically about how celebrities can molest women.

Trump attorneys Alina Habba and Michael Madaio filed papers in Manhattan federal court late Thursday seeking to block references to the 2005 taped encounter and the tape itself from an April trial stemming from the claims of longtime advice columnist E. Jean Carroll.

FILE – Former President Donald Trump speaks as he announces a third run for president, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Nov. 15, 2022.  (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

They called the tape “irrelevant and highly prejudicial” and said it might unjustly be used to suggest to jurors that Trump had a propensity for sexual assault and therefore must have raped Carroll. They also asked to prevent testimony from two women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct and to ban references to his campaign speeches.

Carroll, 79, sued Trump in November after New York state temporarily changed laws to allow adult rape victims to sue their abusers, even if the attacks occurred decades ago. A trial is set for April 25, and Trump and Carroll are both expected to testify.

Carroll, a former columnist for Elle magazine, said in her 2019 memoir, “What Do We Need Men For?” that Trump raped her in late 1995 or early 1996 in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury Manhattan department store.

Trump has denied it, sometimes angrily, in public statements.

In an October deposition for the upcoming trial, Trump was dismissive of Carroll’s claims, saying: “Physically she’s not my type,” though he misidentified her as an ex-wife of his when he was shown a photograph.

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, confronted him with claims that two dozen other women have made against him, asking if any are true.

FILE – In this March 4, 2020, file photo, E. Jean Carroll talks to reporters outside a courthouse in New York. Attorneys for Donald Trump, Friday, Feb. 17, 2023 want to ban from his upcoming civil rape trial the “Access Hollywood” tape in which the former president boasts graphically about how celebrities can molest women. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

“I would say. I mean, I don’t see any. I mean, you haven’t shown me anything,” Trump responded, according to the transcript.

His answers might increase the relevance of lewd comments he made on the “Access Hollywood” tape, which was revealed just weeks before he won the November 2016 presidential election.

In the tape, he said that sometimes when he sees beautiful women: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” And he added that, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” including grabbing women between their legs.

Afterward, he issued a rare apology, saying the comments were “locker room banter” caught on a hot mic.

In excerpts of his deposition placed in the public record late Thursday, Trump said it’s been largely true “over the last million years” that celebrities can grab at women they find attractive. “Unfortunately or fortunately,” he added.

“And you consider yourself to be a star?” Kaplan asked.

“I think you can say that, yeah,” Trump responded.

In her lawsuit, Carroll said she had a chance encounter with Trump that escalated into playful banter as he asked her to help him pick out lingerie for a friend. She said they teased each other to try on a piece of lingerie and went into the dressing room, where Trump became violent and raped her.

Her lawyer declined to comment Friday.