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Trump Lawyer Grills Jessica Leeds of Airplane Allegation As Trump Not Coming Confirmed

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 2 – When E. Jean Carroll testified on April 26 on direct examination about Donald Trump allegedly raping her in Bergdorf Goodman's in 1996, then defaming her in 2019, Trump's lawyer Joe Tacopina repeatedly objected. 

  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York  Judge Louis A. Kaplan denied most objections - and told Tacopina that his client might be subjecting himself to liability under other Federal statutes with his posts on Truth Social (and his son Eric's statements).

  Now early on May 1, Trump's lawyer Tacopina has filed an 18-page motion for a mistrial. Motion on Patreon here.

 Inner City Press live tweeted the direct testimony, thread here

Then on April 27, the cross examination, here

  On May 1, the cross examination continued, Thread here

May 2 saw Lisa Birnbach and Jessica Leeds, a Bergdorf supervisor and the plaintiff's psychological expert, concluding with confirmation that Trump will not be coming to the trial. Thread here:

OK - Carroll v. Trump trial resuming now; next plaintiff's witness taking the stand. Inner City Press may have videoed witness' entry on Worth Street, is covering the case 

Jury entering!

Judge Kaplan: Call your next witness. It's Lisa Birnbach.

Carroll's counsel: How long has you known Ms Carroll? Birnbach: 32 or 33 years Counsel: Did Ms Carroll tell you about an encounter at Bergdorf's? Birnbach: Yes. In the Spring of 1996, I think

Counsel: Have you published? Birnbach: Yes. In the New Yorker, Parade, Spy, TV Guide... Counsel: What was Spy? Birnbach: A satirical magazine. Counsel: Books? Birnback: 22. About the way we live. Not political.

Birnbach: I was the host on a VH1 show I'm sure no one remembers, The Whole Enchilada.  Counsel: How did you meet Ms. Carroll? Birnbach: We had a couple of dinners with another couple. I had admired her stylish reporting in Outside Magazine.

 Counsel: What was her job? Birnbach: Ask E. Jean and a TV show by the same name. I was on it once... I met Donald Trump at a birthday party. He invited me to write a story about Mar-a-Lago, he was turning it into a club. He called me about once a month

 Counsel: Did you write it? Birnbach: Yes. I traveled to Mar-a-Lago on Mr. Trump's private plane in late January 1996. I stayed two nights. I had a tape recorder and recorded a stream of consciousness of Mr. Trump as he gave me a tour. It was "Mi Casa Tu Casa"

Counsel: Did Donald Trump call you after the article came out? Birnbach: No, but one of his assistants did. Counsel: What were you doing when Ms. Carroll called you about being assaulted? Birnbach: I was feeding my children 6 and 3. It was between 6 and 7 pm.

Counsel: What did Ms. Carroll say? Birnbach: She said, Lisa you're not going to believe what happened. She was breathing hard. It sounded like she had a surge of adrenaline... She told me her story, how they ended up in the lingerie department. I was surprised.

 Counsel: What did you think? Birnbach: That is was kinda nutty. She told me she told Donald Trump, why don't you try it on? They were in the dressing room & he slammed her against the wall and he slammed his arm and shoulder against her and pulled down her tights

Birnbach: Then he penetrated her. Counsel: How? Birnbach: With his p*nis. I knew my children didn't know the word but I ducked out and told her, E. Jean, he raped you. I'll take you to the police. She said she didn't want to go. We had a fight. She said, We fought

 Counsel: How long was the call? Birnbach: Four minutes or so. Then I reheated my kids nuggets. She didn't want to tell anyone else. I honored it. Counsel: Did anyone else you knew tell you they were assaulted? Trump's lawyer: Objection! Judge Kaplan: I'll allow it

Birnbach: Yes, other woman friends in the mid 90s told me they had been assaulted by men. Counsel: Did you and Ms Carroll ever discuss the assault again? Birnbach: Not under 2019. Counsel: Did she discuss any romantic relationships with you? Birnbach: No.

Counsel: Have you donated money to political candidates? Birnbach: Yes. Hillary Clinton. Counsel: Where were you on election night 2016? Birnbach: My apartment on West End Avenue with 25 firends including E. Jean. Counsel: Any Trump supporters there? Birnbach: No

 Counsel: Did you have dinner with Ms Carroll & Carol Martin? Birnbach: Yes, at Carmine's restaurant on Broadway. She gave us blue envelopes with ribbons on them. She said, Read it but don't show anyone. I never read it - I felt it might create responsibilities

 Birnbach: I wrote a New Yorker magazine Talk of the Town piece about E. Jean's Hideous Men of New York tour. She didn't mention Donald Trump. Counsel: What was the title? Birnbach: It had the name Hideous Men on it.

 [An aside - before ouster from United Nations for exposing corruption of current Secretary General  Antonio Guterres , this New Yorker Talk of the Town, here

Counsel: When you saw the excerpt, did it match what Ms. Carroll told you in 1996? Birnbach: It did. I called her and told her what a good piece it was. I said, Tell the fact checkers I don't want to be named. Trump was president with a following that was rude

Counsel: Let me know you Exhibit AJ. Was this text sent before or after the excerpt? Birnbach: After. Megan is Megan Twohey, the reporter. E. Jean had sent me each chapter as an email. Counsel: From where? Birnbach: She was in intensive care.

Counsel: Did they come a time you agreed to be publicly identified as the friend she told? Birnbach: Yes. After E. Jean invited Carol and I to a lunch with New York Times reporters who wanted to write about what happened to her. I was named in the NY Times

Birnbach: Megan Twhohey interviewed me and Ms. Martin in my apartment. They put it on The Daily... I was very active on Twitter at that time. I received a lot of anti-Semitic attacks after the interview.

 Counsel: What did you think of the book? Birnbach: I wasn't into the mix of travelogue and hard stories. [Note: the book does repeatedly mention and praise Amy's Burritos in motel microwaves with commentary about p*rn watchers in the desk chairs]

 Counsel: Are you mentioned in the book? Birnbach: I'm one of the [three] people she dedicated the book to. And our wedding shopping trip for Lauren, E. Jean's niece, to Bergdorf's.  Counsel: Did you think of the assault? Birnbach: No. It was about Lauren.

 Counsel: Did you do media about Donald Trump's assault? Birnbach: Yes. NPR, then CNN, Anderson Cooper. Counsel: Did you write about this on Facebook? Birnbach: I haven't been on Facebook for some years. But I probably did. I had a podcast too, 5 Things

Counsel: Did you discuss Donald Trump on your podcast, as a narcissistic psychopath and Vladimir Putin's agent? Birnbach: Probably yes. My guests were not fans of Donald Trump either.

Birnbach: I said those things right after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol -- Trump's lawyer: Objection! Judge Kaplan: Overruled. Counsel: Did you say, The cult of Trump will decline and he will be dealing with a lot of lawsuits? Birnbach: Yes.

 Birnbach: The guy had done a lot of bad things. I was hoping he would have to account for them Counsel: When did your podcast end? Birnbach: When Joe Biden was president. Counsel: Why are you testifying here?

Trump's lawyer: Objection. Irrelevant. Judge: Overruled Birnbach: I'm here because my friend is telling the truth. Counsel: No further questions. Judge Kaplan: 15 minute break.

They're back. Judge Kaplan: Cross-examination.  Trump's lawyer: You only contribute to Democrats? Birnbach: I think I may once have contributed to a pro-choice Republican. Trump's lawyer: Let's go to the deposition...

Trump's lawyer (reading from the deposition) You said only to Democrats. You are not a fan of Donald Trump? Birnbach: Right Trump's lawyer: On Facebook, you said, Does it get worse than Trump, this slimeball? I've never felt the hatred I feel toward this person

 Trump's lawyer: On your podcast with Kurt Anderson, you said you think about Trump every hour and "when I sleep" [Birnbach laughs] Trump's lawyer: Did you say that? Birnbach: I did. Trump's lawyer: And with Alexandra Pelosi, you said, Trump is like herpes

Trump's lawyer: It's evidence of bias, your Honor. Judge Kaplan: You don't say. But it's a compound question. Trump's lawyer: OK, with Chris Wipple, you said, the cult of Trump will decline, he'll deal with lawsuits. They think he'll run for president. That's crap

 Trump's lawyer: And you said, He's demented and a Russian agent. He's bad. Did you make that statement? Birnbach: Yes. Trump's lawyer: In your resident with Ms. Carroll president --

Judge Kaplan: You've promoted her. Trump's lawyer: I meant, Present

Trump's lawyer: Let's go to the deposition, You were asked if you forgot the year -- Carroll's lawyer: Objection!

 Judge Kaplan: Sustained. No foundation laid. Here's what the question was, page 45: Is it your testimony that it never came up in your mind. Answer: It did not come up. Trump's lawyer: That's why I brought it up. Judge Kaplan: That's why I sustain the objection

Trump's lawyer: You do remember it now, do you not? Judge Kaplan: Remember what? Trump's lawyer: The incident at Bergdorf's. Birnbach: It came back to me. Trump's lawyer: What is this? Defendant's DI Birnbach: An email from Ms. Carroll about our event at The Wing

Trump's lawyer: You wrote, the main thing is to SELL BOOKS, yes? Birnbach: She was on a book tour.  That's how writers make money. Trump's lawyer: Thank you. That's all I have. Judge Kaplan: Re-direct. Carroll's lawyer: Mr Brandt just asked you about the book tour

Birnbach: Due to security concerns, she could not do a book tour. Carroll's lawyer: Why? Birnbach: Followers of Mr. Trump would -- Brandt: Objection! Judge Kaplan: Overruled. Birnbach: They were threatening her

Carroll's lawyer: In 1996, was Donald Trump known as a political figure? Birnbach: Not at all. Carroll's lawyer: In this message you said, Megan doesn't like Sardi's. What was this lunch? Birnbach: The interview with the NYT reporter.

Birnbach: In 1996 Trump was not political, he was a real estate guy who harassed a lot of women Brandt: Move to strike. 403 Judge Kaplan: Disregard the part after "a real estate guy." Carroll's lawyer: Would you lie to stop Trump from being president? Birnbach: No

Judge Kaplan: Re-cross. Brandt: In 2019 he was a political figure, the president, right? Birnbach: Yes. Brandt: Nothing further. Judge Kaplan: Next witness. Carroll's lawyer Ferrara: Plaintiff calls Jessica Leeds.

Ferrara: What was your job? Leeds: A stock broker at 20 Broad near Wall St Ferrara: Where did you meet Donald Trump? Leeds: On a plane in 1979 or 1978. From Dallas or Atlanta. It was midday. I was 37. [Photo of Leeds with short hair. She: then my hair was long]

Leeds: I was invited up to the first class cabin. I was the only woman there. Donald Trump introduced himself. Ferrara: Did you know of him? Leeds: No. I was living in Connecticut. They served a very nice meal, as Braniff was known for.

Leeds: Donald Trump grabbed me and groped me. It was like he had forty zillion hands. He put his hand up my skirt. That's gave me a jolt. I wiggled out and stormed back to coach. Ferrara: Did anyone say anything? Leeds: The guy on the aisle, his eyes were saucers

Ferrara: Have you given interviews about this? And saying it took long? Leeds: I told Anderson Cooper it was fifteen minutes. But it was seconds. Ferrara: On plane, did you tell anyone. Leeds: No. It never occurred to me.

Leeds: It was Anderson Cooper who asked Trump the question during the debate with Hillary... So I agreed to be on his show. I had written a letter to the NYT and Megan Twohey called me, said she'd said a reporter over. He came over, they brought a photographer

Leeds: I don't know if you've ever had the experience of picking up a newspaper and seeing your face on the front page. Wow. I was amazed. Ferrara: What's this?

Leeds: The debate where Anderson Cooper asked him if he had harassed a woman.Ferrara: Plaintiff's offer it as an exhibit. Tacopina: Objection. Ferrara: Let's look at the transcript. It's only 2 minutes 27 seconds. Judge Kaplan: OK. Tacopina: We don't object, if only this segment. [Video of Cooper asking about Access Hollywood tape]

Trump (in Cooper interview) This was locker room talk. We have a world of ISIS chopping of heads, drowning people in steel cages. I will knock the hell out of ISIS Anderson Cooper: Are you saying what you said on the bus 11 years ago, you never did that? Trump: No

Back in court: Ferrara: Ms. Leeds, did you watch the debate? Leeds: Yes. I was furious. What was done to me... There was foreign press, even from Japan and France. A couple more appearances on CNN & MSNBC. Ferrara: What was the response? Leeds: I don't do Facebook

 Leeds: People say, Thank you. Ferrara: When did the NYT run your story? Leeds: October 2016. I heard he said he would never attack me. But he was looking at a 76 year old woman, not that 37 year old I was. Judge Kaplan: Lunch break till 2 pm. Thread will continue

OK - they are back. Tacopina: Your Honor, there's something we need to speak with you about. Can we have a sidebar? Judge Kaplan: Jurors, as you were walking in, the lawyers told me they need to have a discussion. Please bear with us

[Sidebar is over.] Judge Kaplan: Proceed. Carroll's lawyer Ferrara: Ms Leeds, what is this? Leeds: It's the Trump rally at which he made his comments -- Ferrara: I asked a bad question, I apologize. Just, do you recognize the CD? Leeds: It has my initials on it.

Ferrara: It's Exhibit 31 and 31-T Judge Kaplan: They are received.  [On screen, CSPAN, Trump saying: "They come up with people who say, I was with Donald Trump on an airplane in 1980. Believe me, she would not be my first choice."] Leeds: I was sure it was me.

 Ferrara: Do you consider yourself political active? Leeds: Yes. I vote in every election, whether I know anything or not.  Ferrara: Are you in a party? Leeds: I am a Democrat. I contributed to Raphael Warnock and Stacey Abrams and whoever ran against Susan Collins

Ferrara: Have you spoken with Ms. Carroll? Leeds: She interviewed me by Zoom. She's an acquaintance, not a friend. Ferrara: Did you ever speak with Donald Trump again? Leeds: In 1981 at a fundraiser. I had a nice dress.  Trump and Ivana, pregnant, came up

Leeds: Trump said, I remember you, you're that c*nt from the airplane. It was like cold water over me. He walked away and I went home. Ferrara: Nothing further. Judge Kaplan: Cross examination. Tacopina: You didn't tell anyone for year, but you're political

Tacopina: You knew Donald Trump was talking about running but you didn't say anything? Leeds: Correct. Tacopina: Then when he ran, you talked about it to your book club? Leeds: Yes.  Tacopina: During the debate you said, What an as*hole, and jumped up and down?

Tacopina: You did an interview with the NYT and said you hoped your story would influence the election against Donald Trump? Leeds: Correct.  Tacopina: You did any interview with NPR, Audie Cornish?  Leeds: Yes.

 Tacopina: And you did an interview with Democracy Now, Amy Goodwin? [sic - it's Goodman, like Bergdorf]

 Leeds: Yes.  Tacopina: You don't want to see Donald Trump regain the presidency? Leeds: I don't. Tacopina: Can you give us an exact date? Leeds: No, I cannot. Tacopina: You don't remember where you were flying in from? Leeds: I do not. Tacopina: It's your story a man introduced himself to you as being Donald Trump. Leeds: He was some random guy on a plane

Tacopina: You told Anderson Cooper the tussle lasted 15 minutes? Leeds: Yes Tacopina: Your story is that a passenger saw it? Leeds: Yes Tacopina: When you say he touched your knee- Judge Kaplan: Sustained. The word knee is only from you Tacopina: OK, up the skirt

 Tacopina: You didn't say anything, when you got back to your seat? Leeds: No.  Tacopina: You'd never heard of him, but you remembered the name for all these years? Leeds: Yes.  Tacopina: And at the gala, you say Donald Trump next to his wife said c*nt to you? Yes.

Tacopina: You say Donald Trump remembered you, despite shorter hair, different clothes- Carroll's lawyer: Objection! Judge Kaplan: Sustained. Tacopina: You did an interview with Democracy Now? Leeds: I went to their studio. Tacopina: You said, you remember details

 Tacopina: You told Anderson Cooper it was in 1979. Leeds: Yes. Tacopina: You told Ms. Carroll it was 1980 or 1979? Leeds: Yes. Tacopina: You can't name one witness to corroborate? Leeds: No. Judge Kaplan: Let's move on.

Tacopina: Nothing further your Honor. Judge Kaplan: Re-direct. Ferrara: You remember every detail? Leeds: Yes I do. Ferrara: Why not tell your bosses?

Leeds: My boss would say, too bad, how about lunch? It was a good job. Ferrara: Why did you call it a pass? Leeds: It's easier to think of it that way. Ferrara: To be clear, do you now consider it a pass? Tacopina: Objection! Leading! Judge Kaplan: Overruled.  Leeds: No, it was not a pass.

 Ferrara: Do you think you brought on what he did? Leeds: No. I don't know what he perceived. I think he was just bored. Ferrara: Nothing further. Judge Kaplan: Mr. Tacopina? Tacopina: No re-cross. Judge Kaplan: Next witness. It's Robert Solerno.

Carroll's lawyer Crowley: Are you retired? Solerno: Yes. Crowley: Where were you in the mid 90s? Solerno: Bergdorf Goodman. Crowley: How many floors did it have then? Solerno: 10, 8 accessible by escalator to the public

Crowley: How big were the fitting rooms? Solerno: Large. On the fourth floor, they had fax machines. Jackie Kennedy used to come and do business there. Crowley: Were the escalators open or walled off? Solerno: Walled off, structural walls

Crowley: You saw Donald Trump in the store? Solerno: Once or twice. Crowley: No further questions. Judge Kaplan: Let's take our afternoon break. 15 minutes. Note: now rushing other cases - will return here when they do. Thread will continue

OK, now they're back. Trump's lawyer: You say you saw Donald Trump in the women's wear section of Bergdorf Goodman? Is there a separate- Judge Kaplan: Sustained as to form. Strike it Trump's lawyer: Where did you see Donald Trump in the mid 90s? Solerno: 5th floor

 Trump's lawyer Chad Seigel: Bergdorf's prided itself on providing attentive customer service? Solerno: That's correct. Seigel: Why were sales associated called personal shoppers? Carroll's lawyer: Objection. Judge Kaplan: Sustained. This is all repetition.

Seigel: Do you have any idea how many staff worked there on a Thursday night? Judge Kaplan: Does he have any idea? Is that where we are? Seigel: Were you responsible for security? Solerno: Yes.

 Seigel: Did the topic of shoplifting ever come up? Carroll's lawyer: Objection. Judge Kaplan: Sustained. Seigel: Any measure to ensure clients wouldn't steal merchandise? Carroll's lawyer: Objection. Judge Kaplan: Sustained.

Trump's lawyer Seigel: There were cameras on the 1st floor? Solerno: Yes. Seigel: Back in the day, the VHS tapes were taped over? Carroll's lawyer: Objection. Judge Kaplan: Basis? Carroll's lawyer: "Back in the day" Judge Kaplan: Sustained. Seigel: Nothing further

Judge Kaplan: Next witness. It's Dr Leslie Lebowitz, clinical psychologist. Carroll's counsel: Do you have a specialization? Lebowitz: Trauma. Carroll's counsel: We're going talk a lot about that today and probably tomorrow

 Dr. Lebowitz: I worked on the issue of sexual abuse in the military.  Carroll's counsel: How many times have you been engaged to work on a case and then withdrawn? Lebowitz: Five or six. Some were prosecutions for rape but I did not feel confident in it

Lebowitz: In another, a murder case, they'd thought trauma might explain it but I thought there could be another explanation, personality disorder. Carroll's counsel: In this case, were you asked to provide an expert opinion for E. Jean Carroll? Lebowitz: Yes.

Lebowitz: She has suffered from painful memories. A diminishment in how she thought about herself. Avoidance symptom, curtailing her romantic intimate life. Carroll's lawyer: We're going to talk much more about that.

Jury leaves for day.  Carroll's lawyer: We will rest Thursday midday. Judge Kaplan: Mr. Tacopina, will Mr. Trump becoming? Tacopina: No. Judge Kaplan: It's his call. Tacopina: Ms. Carroll's sister, what's the point of her testimony? I'm just teeing it up.

Judge Kaplan: I'll do the charging conference either Friday or Monday, I'll let you know.

Judge leaves.

More including on percentage of objections sustained on Substack here

Watch this site.

                        and Judge Kaplan in Carrol v Trump courtesy
                        Elizabeth Wiliams

Court art: Tacopina and Judge Kaplan, courtesy to Inner City Press from Elizabeth Williams


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