Benjamin Wallace-Wells in The New Yorker:
For the past two weeks, in a courtroom in lower Manhattan, the journalist E. Jean Carroll has made a straightforward case: a quarter century ago, she says, Donald Trump raped her. The account she gave in the courtroom was the same as it has been since she first revealed this story, in an excerpt of her memoir which was published in New York magazine, in 2019. Carroll had a chance encounter with Trump in Bergdorf Goodman, she has said, and, flirting, she and Trump moved through the store, picking up a lacy bodysuit and going together into an unlocked dressing room. Maybe she should try the bodysuit on, he suggested. Maybe he should try it on, she suggested. Then, according to Carroll, Trump pulled down her tights, pushed her against the wall, and raped her. Within a few days, Carroll told two friends of the attack: the writer Lisa Birnbach, and the television anchor Carol Martin. Both of them testified this week, and Martin acknowledged that she had initially advised Carroll not to go public, saying, “I just volunteered that she shouldn’t do anything because it was Donald Trump and he had a lot of attorneys and he would just bury her.”
Now Carroll has a prominent attorney, too: Roberta Kaplan, who famously represented Edie Windsor in the Supreme Court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. In order to establish a pattern of behavior, Kaplan this week called two other witnesses who said that they had been sexually assaulted by the former President. A stockbroker named Jessica Leeds said that Trump groped her on a flight in the late nineteen-seventies—when he was not yet famous—sending her fleeing from first class to coach. Natasha Stoynoff, a People magazine writer, alleged that, while she was on assignment to interview Donald and Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago, in 2005, Donald Trump had shut a door, trapping her in a room with him, and forcibly kissed her before being interrupted by a butler.