Access Hollywood tape fair game for E. Jean Carroll v. Trump

Donald Trump and Billy Bush exit the bus in the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape. (Screenshot via NBC)

Former President Donald Trump cannot keep E. Jean Carroll from showing a jury the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape that nearly derailed his 2016 campaign in a lawsuit accusing him of rape, a federal judge ruled.

“In this case, a jury reasonably could find, even from the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape alone, that Mr. Trump admitted in the Access Hollywood tape that he in fact has had contact with women’s genitalia in the past without their consent, or that he has attempted to do so,” Senior U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in a 23-page memorandum opinion.

Carroll has filed two lawsuits against the former president: one accusing him of defaming her in responding to her sexual assault allegations by telling reporters “she’s not my type,” and another confronting the sexual battery allegations directly under New York’s recently passed Adult Survivors Act.

In the mid-1990s, Carroll claims, Trump sexually assaulted her in a dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman. Trial on the allegations is slated for April.

As the parties prepare their cases for a jury, Kaplan issued a ruling hashing out what evidence they can see and hear. Trump has argued that the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which he can be heard boasting to Billy Bush about grabbing women “by the p—-,” is inadmissible propensity evidence.

Kaplan told the former president that he can save his defenses about the tape for a jury.

“The Court acknowledges that Mr. Trump has claimed that his statements were ‘locker room talk’ — presumably meaning that they were not true — and that he has denied that he has behaved in the manner described by his statements,” the opinion states. “Although he has not so argued, some of the statements perhaps may be susceptible of varying interpretations including in some respects interpretations that may be inconsistent with sexual misconduct by Mr. Trump. Possibly, for example, he may claim that he was speaking of what other ‘stars’ have done, not his own conduct.”

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