Judge denies Trump's attempt to block 'Access Hollywood' tape from upcoming defamation trial

E. Jean Carroll is suing Trump for defamation after he denied her rape claim.

March 10, 2023, 1:29 PM

A federal judge in New York on Friday denied former President Donald Trump's attempt to block excerpts of the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape from being used as evidence in his upcoming defamation trial.

On the tape, which surfaced before the 2016 presidential election, Trump is heard saying that he just starts kissing beautiful women when he meets them.

"It's like a magnet. Just kiss," he says. "I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything, grab them by the p----, you can do anything."

Trump has dismissed the tape as "locker room talk" and has argued the material is unfairly being used to suggest he has a propensity for sexual assault.

"Plaintiff, in continuing her unabashed demand to admit the Tape, has made it clear that she wishes to convert this trial into a referendum on Plaintiff's character and distract the jury from determining the merits of the controlling issues of this case," Trump's attorney, Alina Habba, argued last week.

While rules ordinarily prevent such propensity evidence, the judge on Friday ruled that it can be allowed in a civil case based on an alleged sexual assault.

"It is simply not the Court's function in ruling on the admissibility of this evidence to decide what Mr. Trump meant or how to interpret his statements," Judge Lewis Kaplan said.

PHOTO: Donald Trump attends the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, March 4, 2023.
Donald Trump attends the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, March 4, 2023.
Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

The judge also denied Trump's attempt to preclude the testimony of two women other than accuser E. Jean Carroll. The two women, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, have previously claimed Trump sexually assaulted them, which he denies.

"Mr. Trump has claimed that Ms. Leeds is a liar and that no such event ever occurred. And he will be entitled to make that argument to the jury. But that is not now the issue," Kaplan said.

The judge left open a question of whether Carroll's attorneys could use seven excerpts of speeches Trump gave on 2016 campaign trail. Each of the excerpts contain assertions by Trump that women who have accused him of sex assault were lying and that their looks were unappealing to him.

Carroll has alleged that Trump sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s and that he defamed her in 2019 when, during his presidency, he denied her rape claim by calling her a liar and saying "she's not my type."

The trial is scheduled to begin next month pending a decision in a separate court that could prevent the case from moving ahead if it's determined that Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he allegedly defamed Carroll.

Carroll has filed a separate lawsuit against Trump alleging defamation and battery under a New York law that allows alleged adult sex assault victims to bring claims otherwise barred by the passage of time.

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