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Outside the court in New York, a group of women hold signs saying: ‘I believe E Jean Carroll’

Former US president Donald Trump argues that claims of rape made against him are ridiculous and made up

Standing outside the US courthouse in Lower Manhattan, Jennifer Fisher says simply: “I believe E Jean Carroll”.

Fisher and two colleagues are holding black and white signs backing the former magazine columnist and strongly criticising former US president Donald Trump, whom Carroll has accused of raping her in a department store changing room nearly 30 years ago.

Trump has strongly denied the accusations.

The case is a civil action. Trump is not facing criminal charges but could face having to pay heavy damages if he loses.


Fisher was among 40-50 people who turned up to support Carroll when the case began in late April. They had a banner proclaiming that “no one is above the law”.

As the case reaches its likely conclusion this week with both sides making closing arguments, Fisher has returned to the US district court for the Southern District of New York.

Fisher says she has come to give her backing to Carroll, who she describes as being “terribly brave to come forward and tell her story given the way Trump attacks anyone who speaks out about him”.

She hands The Irish Times a postcard with the images of 26 women who she claims have made allegations against Trump.

The former president has denied all these accusations.

Fisher’s colleague outside the court, Laurie Arbeiter, holds a sign which says: “Where is Trump?“.

Trump told reporters when he was in Ireland last week that he would “probably attend” the case.

“I have to go back for a woman that made a false accusation about me, and I have a judge who is extremely hostile,” Trump said while at his golf course in Dooonbeg, Co Clare.

His lawyers had already told the court that their client would not be giving evidence. However, after hearing his comments in Ireland, the judge gave him a final opportunity to testify if he filed a petition to the court by Sunday evening. However, on Sunday night it became clear that the former president would not be turning up.

While Trump did not appear, Carroll was in the court as the closing submissions began on Monday.

A tall slim woman in her late 70s, she was wearing a grey jacket with a black belt and a black skirt.

The court hearing is taking place in a dark wood-panelled room on the 26th floor of a high-rise building named after Irish-American politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

It is a couple of hundred metres down the road from where last month the former president was charged with 34 felony counts relating to alleged business fraud by the Manhattan district attorney’s office in a separate case. He has pleaded not guilty.

The court for the closing arguments in the Carroll case is full. But there is no comparison with the throngs of media as well as supporters and opponents of the former president who turned up in Lower Manhattan for his indictment last month.

Across the street from the court building, beside a children’s playground and close to where Fisher and her colleagues are protesting, TV satellite vans stand ready for the conclusion of the case which could come as early as Tuesday when it is likely to be given to the jury.

The jury is composed of six men and three women who come from Manhattan, Westchester County and the Bronx. They have a variety of occupations. One works for the New York City Public Library, another for a hospital and a third as a building janitor.

Carroll alleges that Trump raped her in the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York in the mid-1990s.

Trump in a deposition argued the accusation was ridiculous and made up. He said Carroll was “not his type” – although he subsequently mistook a photo of the woman taking the case for his ex wife Marla Maples.

In a 75-minute closing argument lawyer for Carroll, Roberta Kaplan told the jury that no one, not even a former president, was above the law.

“Donald Trump’s defence here is essentially that there is a vast conspiracy against him.

“Donald Trump wants and needs you to disregard all the evidence that you heard in this case.”

Trump’s lawyers called no witnesses in his defence.

Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, contended that Carroll had abused the legal process and made the allegations against his client “for money, for status, for political reasons”.

“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story. It’s just made up”, he said.