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Psychologist testifies that Trump rape accuser E. Jean Carroll has elements of PTSD

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(NEW YORK)– A clinical psychologist told the jury that former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll displays elements of post-traumatic stress disorder at the start of the sixth day of Carroll’s civil defamation and battery case against former President Donald Trump.

Carroll, who brought the lawsuit in November, alleges that Trump defamed her in a 2022 Truth Social post by calling her allegations “a Hoax and a lie” and saying “This woman is not my type!” when he denied her claim that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in the 1990s.

She added a charge of battery under a recently adopted New York law that allows adult survivors of sexual abuse to sue their alleged attacker regardless of the statute of limitations. Trump has denied all allegations that he raped Carroll or defamed her.

Dr. Leslie Lebowitz, who evaluated Carroll, testified that she did not formally diagnose Carroll with PTSD, but said Carroll met some of the criteria for it.

Lebowitz said Carroll exhibited signs of memories affected by trauma, describing a moment during her evaluation when Carroll “began to squirm in her seat” because she was “re-experiencing” elements of the alleged assault.

She also told the jury that rape victims commonly experience self-blame.

During her testimony earlier this week, Carroll said, “I was ashamed. I thought it was my fault.”

“Why did you think it was your fault, Ms. Carroll?” her attorney, Michael Ferrara, asked.

“Because I was flirting with him and laughing and having one of the great times. It was high comedy. It was funny,” Carroll said.

Trump attorney Joe Tacopina told Judge Lewis Kaplan at the conclusion of testimony Tuesday that Trump himself would not be testifying in the case.

“It’s his call,” the judge said. “I understand that. You understand that. He understands that.”

Trump is not required to appear, as the trial is a civil case and not a criminal one.

The nine-member jury of six men and three women is weighing Carroll’s defamation and battery claims and deciding potential monetary damages.

Carroll’s lawsuit is her second against Trump related to her rape allegation.

She previously sued Trump in 2019 after the then-president denied her rape claim by telling The Hill that Carroll was “totally lying,” saying, “I’ll say it with great respect: No. 1, she’s not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” That defamation suit has been caught in a procedural back-and-forth over the question of whether Trump, as president, was acting in his official capacity as an employee of the federal government when he made those remarks.

If Trump is determined to have been acting as a government employee, the U.S. government would substitute as the defendant in that suit — which means that case would go away, since the government cannot be sued for defamation.

This month’s trial is taking place as Trump seeks the White House for a third time, while facing numerous legal challenges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, his handling of classified material after leaving the White House, and possible attempts to interfere in Georgia’s 2020 vote. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said last week she would decide whether to file criminal charges against Trump or his allies this summer.

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