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Trump will not testify in New York rape, defamation trial

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FORMER U.S. President Donald Trump will not testify at a civil trial to challenge claims made by writer E. Jean Carroll that he raped her in the 1990s and later defamed her, after letting a Sunday deadline pass without asking the court to appear.

Trump’s attorney Joseph Tacopina told the judge on Thursday that Trump had waived his right to testify in the trial in Manhattan federal court and opted not to present a defence in the case, gambling that jurors will find that Carroll had failed to make a persuasive case.

In response to a Reuters request for comment, Tacopina said in a statement what Trump’s legal team had already told the court on Thursday, that the former president would not testify in the case.

After the jury left for the day on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan asked Tacopina to inform Trump that he had until Sunday at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) to tell the court whether he intended to testify.

Kaplan has scheduled closing arguments from the two sides for Monday. Carroll, 79, filed her lawsuit last year against Trump, 76, claiming he raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in 1995 or 1996, and then defamed her by denying it happened. The former Elle magazine advice columnist is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021 and is the current frontrunner for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination in 2024, has said Carroll made up the allegation to drive sales of her 2019 memoir.

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In a video deposition played for the jury on Wednesday, Trump denied raping Carroll.

“It’s the most ridiculous, disgusting story,” Trump said in the video, hunched over a conference table as Carroll’s lawyers presented documents to him. “It’s just made up.”