Trump thought photo of accuser was of ex-wife during deposition – The Washington Post

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NEW YORK — Donald Trump mistook his sexual assault accuser E. Jean Carroll for his ex-wife Marla Maples when shown a photograph from the 1990s in a deposition at Mar-a-Lago last year, potentially undermining one of the common defenses he has used to deny an attack.

Trump, who is being sued by Carroll, an author and advice columnist, for defamation and sexual assault stemming from the same alleged encounter, has repeatedly said Carroll is not his “type,” suggesting an assault could not have occurred because he would not have pursued her romantically.

“That’s Marla, yeah. That’s my wife,” Trump said under examination from Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan, in a new selection of excerpts from the deposition that was unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Trump’s blunder in a sworn deposition was quickly corrected by his attorney Alina Habba, who told him it was Carroll, not Maples, an actress and singer who was married to Trump from 1993 to 1999.

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Maples was Trump’s second of three wives and is the mother of Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany.

Trump’s lawyer did not immediately have a comment.

The black-and-white photo at issue has been circulating since Carroll made allegations against then-president Trump in 2019, detailing an account in her memoir of a forced sexual act during an encounter with Trump at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in the mid-1990s.

Trump has denied having ever known Carroll, and in response to the photo’s existence, he has said in the past that he was often introduced to people at events that he didn’t know. In the deposition, he said the photo appeared to show him on a “receiving line,” possibly at a charity event, where he met and greeted guests.

At the time in question, Trump was a celebrity New York real estate developer and titan of the city’s social scene.

Last week, a different unsealed exhibit revealed that in the same October sit-down at Trump’s Florida resort and residence, Trump falsely claimed that Carroll said in a CNN interview that she enjoyed being raped and repeatedly said she was mentally ill, citing the TV appearance as proof.

Her comments were in actuality an expansion of remarks Carroll made explaining her rationale for using terminology other than the word “rape” to describe her alleged assault.

Trump, who remains a large influence in the Republican Party and has announced his candidacy for president in 2024, used the deposition to make false claims about the success of his social media start-up Truth Social and used it to argue that Carroll’s lawsuit is one of many “hoaxes” that have been directed at him, the unsealed portions have revealed.

He’s scheduled to stand trial on both of Carroll’s claims in federal court in New York in April. The defamation claim, however, may depend on how D.C.’s top appeals court rules on whether the Justice Department can intervene on Trump’s behalf, on the basis that Trump was acting as a federal employee when he made disparaging comments about Carroll.

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