Former President Donald Trump’s lawyer addressed the criticisms surrounding his client on the final day of the trial in the Jean E. Carroll lawsuit.
On Monday, attorney Joe Tacopina called Trump’s comments in the 2016 “Access Hollywood” tape “crude” and “rude” in his closing arguments, telling the jury that Carroll’s lawyers were intentionally using the things people hate about the former president to make their case.
“How many times did they play the Access Hollywood tape? Five? Donald Trump said women ‘let’ you do it. Yes, it was crude. He apologized for it in the debate with Hillary Clinton,” Tacopina said. “They are using the Art of Distraction. They are trying to take parts of Donald Trump you hate and stretch them over her story. If this weren’t about Trump, we wouldn’t be here today. No way.”
Both sides delivered their final remarks on Monday after two weeks of trial, during which Carroll’s team argued that Trump did assault the former columnist in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1970s and Tacopina argued that she made up the allegations.
The jury will begin deliberations on Tuesday to decide whether Trump is liable for defamation and battery, the latter a charge that requires the jury to find the claims “probable” rather than the much lower standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” that is required in criminal cases.
Throughout the trial, Tacopina did not hold back on addressing the fact that his client is not well-liked by many.
“People have very strong feelings about Donald Trump,” he said in his opening arguments last month. “You can hate Donald Trump, it’s okay. There’s a time and a secret place for that. It’s called a ballot box. But not here in the court of law.”
He reiterated those remarks again on Monday, telling the jury that Carroll’s lawyers want jurors to “hate [Trump] enough to ignore the facts.”
Although Trump did not take the stand during the trial, a video of Trump’s deposition was played to the jury. In the video, Trump defended the comments he made in the “Access Hollywood” tape—which infamously captured Trump describing grabbing women by the genitals—saying he was only saying what was historically “true with stars.”
Asked by Carroll’s lawyer if it is “True with stars that they can grab women by the pussy?” Trump responded, “Well, that’s what— if you look over the last million years, I guess that’s been largely true. Not always, but largely true. Unfortunately or fortunately.”
During Carroll attorney Mike Ferrara’s closing arguments, he told the jury that Trump’s team never called him to the stand because “it would hurt their case if they did.”
“You should draw the conclusion that’s because he did it,” Ferrara said.
But Tacopina argued that if Carroll’s team really thought Trump’s testimony was paramount to the case, they could have called him to the stand.
“If Donald Trump had come, what could I have asked him? About some unknown date?” Tacopina said on Friday. “This is a civil case. They could have called Donald Trump. But they didn’t.”
Update 05/08/23 5:13p.m. This story was updated to reflect jury deliberations.