E. Jean Carroll, In First TV Interviews, Speaks About Facing Donald Trump At Trial: “He Was Like Nothing, Like An Emperor Without Clothes”

UPDATE: E. Jean Carroll appeared on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on Monday night, where she said that encountering former President Donald Trump in court was like being in the presence of “nothing.”

“He is like a walrus snorting, and like a rhino flopping his hands. He is not there. That is what is the surprising thing to me,” she said.

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That said, she said that she was “terrified” over the experience, which she said was the first time that she had seen him in person since 1996. That is when she claimed that he sexually assaulted her. A jury last year found Trump liable, and last week another jury ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million in a defamation verdict.

Even though she said that she was frightened when she took the stand, with Trump watching her from his seat, “Amazingly I looked out and he was nothing. He was a phantom. It was the people around him who were giving him power.”

“He’s nothing. We don’t need to be afraid of him. He can be knocked out,” she said.

When Maddow asked Carroll of what she will do with the money, she said, “First thing, Rachel. You and I are going to go shopping. Get a completely new wardrobe. New shoes. … Rachel, what do you want? Penthouse? It’s yours….Penthouse and France? You want France? You want to go fishing in France?”

Maddow laughed and said, “No.”

“That’s a joke,” Carroll’s attorney said.

PREVIOUSLY: In her first TV interviews since a jury on Friday ordered Donald Trump to pay her $83.3 million in a defamation case verdict, writer E. Jean Carroll this morning described what it was like to face the former president in court.

Carroll told CNN This Morning that she hadn’t seen Trump in close to 30 years, “since he assaulted me in the dressing room.” (Trump was found liable in May 2023 of sexually abusing and defaming Carroll, but he did not attend that trial.)

She said that leading up to the court battle, she could not sleep or eat or think straight. Asked by George Stephanopoulos on GMA about facing Trump after all these years, Carroll said the thought was “terrifying, until I got there.”

Once she was in the courtroom and got to stare Trump in the eyes, the writer says she realized her fears were unfounded.

“He was like nothing, like an emperor without clothes,” Carroll told GMA. “All my terror leading up to it, and there he is. He’s just something in a suit.” On CNN, she said she realized that Trump’s power seemed derived from those around him, who gave him attention. Without that, Carrol told GMA, “He was just — no power. He was zero.”

Asked what she would do with the money, Carroll echoed comments she’d made to the New York Times a day earlier, telling Stephanopoulos, “I’d like to give the money to something Donald Trump hates. … Perhaps a fund for the women who have been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump.”

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