Trump rape case: After years of back and forth over Trump's DNA, jurors won't even hear about it

  • A judge ruled Monday that DNA evidence can't be mentioned at Trump's upcoming rape trial.

  • E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation and battery over her claim he raped her in the mid-1990s.

  • The case is headed to trial in Manhattan federal court next month.

The judge presiding over E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump has banned lawyers from even mentioning DNA evidence in front of the jury when the case goes to trial next month.

US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled Monday that both sides would be "precluded from any testimony, argument, commentary or reference concerning DNA evidence" during the trial, which is scheduled to begin April 25.

Kaplan's order brings to an end a yearslong fight between Trump and his rape accuser over DNA on the dress she says she was wearing when she alleges Trump assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Carroll's lawyers had the dress sent out for forensic testing when she sued Trump in 2019, and unidentified male skin fragments were found. Carroll's lawyers asked Trump to submit a DNA sample to test against the samples found on the dress, but for years, he refused.

E. Jean Carroll's dress
A picture of E. Jean Carroll's dress included in the lab report.New York County Supreme Court

When Trump brought Joe Tacopina onto the case earlier this year, the new attorney made a last-minute offer to submit Trump's DNA sample. But the discovery period to exchange evidence had already passed, and Kaplan denied the offer, writing that Trump made "no persuasive reason" for not submitting his DNA in a timely manner and that he "failed to demonstrate good cause to reopen discovery."

While DNA evidence was thrown out of the case, Trump's lawyers continued to fight for the chance to question Carroll about her comments insinuating she had DNA evidence to prove her sexual-assault claim.

In 2021, Carroll tweeted about Trump's mounting legal issues, writing, "Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney, has Trump's taxes. Fani Willis, the Georgia Prosecutor, has Trump's phone call. Mary Trump has her grandfather's will. And I have the dress. Trump is basically in deep shit."

She also acknowledged in her deposition that she publicly claimed to have Trump's DNA.

Alina Habba, one of Trump's attorneys, argued in a motion last month that the defense is entitled to question Carroll "with respect to the fact that she publicly, and falsely, proclaimed that she was in possession of Defendant's DNA" to support their argument that Carroll "manufactured her defamation claim for the purpose of garnering publicity."

In his ruling Monday, Kaplan refuted that Carroll's statement was false since the dress was never tested, and Trump's DNA could very well be on it. He also said bringing up DNA at trial would be "distracting and needlessly confusing for the jury, and ultimately would not contribute materially to a fair result in this case."

Attorneys for Trump and Carroll declined to comment when reached by Insider on Monday.

Carroll first sued Trump for defamation in 2019, when he loudly denied her rape claim in statements to the press, calling her a liar and saying she made up the story to sell her memoir. That lawsuit has been put on hold while an appeals court determines whether Trump can even be sued in that case. Trump is arguing that a federal law protects him from being sued for comments he made while president.

Late last year, Carroll filed a second lawsuit against Trump for defamation and battery. It is headed for trial on April 25. The defamation claim centers on comments Trump made after leaving the White House. Carroll was also able to sue for battery after New York passed a law temporarily allowing plaintiffs to bring sexual assault lawsuits after the statute of limitations had expired.

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