2 more women expected to testify in Trump defamation trial

The defamation and battery trial of former President Donald Trump resumed Tuesday with expected testimony from two women meant to bolster the account of accuser E. Jean Carroll.

Lisa Birnbach, a writer, was the first person Carroll said she told of the alleged rape after it occurred at Bergdorf Goodman.

Carroll described being in something of a stupor when she called Birnbach once she left the store, laughing as she relayed her alleged encounter with Trump. It was Birnbach, she said, who told her to stop laughing, that she had been raped.

“And even when Lisa said it, it took a real effort for me to take it in,” Carroll testified. “Lisa is the one who focused my brain for that moment. It was Lisa saying that.”

Carroll’s attorneys are also expected to call Jessica Leeds, a businesswoman who alleges Trump groped her on an airplane in 1979. She first told her store to The New York Times just before the 2016 election.

“The evidence will show that Donald Trump assaulted Jessica Leeds on an airplane in 1979. She was seated next to him in the first-class cabin. After they made small talk and finished their meals, Trump lunged at her, he pressed his body against her, tried to kiss her, grabbed her breasts, and started to put his hand up her skirt, exactly as he did to Ms. Carroll,” plaintiff’s attorney Shawn Crowley said during opening statements

Crowley said Leeds is of the same generation as Carroll, which Carroll described as the “silent” generation.

“Like Ms. Carroll, for a very long time, she didn’t tell a soul what happened. She didn’t want to risk losing her job or being humiliated for coming forward. But in 2016, Ms. Leeds watched the presidential debate and she heard Donald Trump say that he had never kissed a woman without her consent. She knew she couldn’t stay silent any longer. After Ms. Leeds spoke publicly, Trump attacked her. He called her a liar. He told the world that she was not his type. Sound familiar?” Crowley said.

Leeds is one of two women allowed to testify about prior alleged assaults by Trump as Carroll’s attorneys try to show a pattern of alleged behavior that Trump has long denied.

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