Donald Trump has finally offered to hand over his DNA in his upcoming rape trial with E Jean Carroll – but only after the deadline passed to submit evidence in the case.
Attorneys for the former president said last week that he had finally agreed to take a DNA test so that his sample can be compared to a dress Ms Carroll says she was wearing at the time of the alleged sexual assault, reportedThe Daily Beast.
Ms Carroll, who was a TV talk show host at the time, claims that Mr Trump raped her in a dressing room in high-end Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman in 1996.
She says that she and Mr Trump randomly bumped into each other and they got chatting, before Mr Trump pinned her against a wall in a dressing room and sexually assaulted her.
Ms Carroll kept the Donna Karan black coat dress she said she was wearing at the time – and the now-infamous item lies at the centre of her case against the one-term president.
The allegations first came to light in 2019 when Mr Trump was president.
At the time, Mr Trump denied the allegations in a White House press conference, saying he had “never met her” and that “she’s not my type”.
Ms Carroll pushed back on his claims, sharing a photo she said proves they did meet. The photo shows her and Mr Trump together with his then-wife Ivana Trump and her then-husband John Johnson at an NBC party in 1987.
She filed a defamation suit later that year.
Mr Trump repeatedly stalled proceedings in the lawsuit but – after New York state passed the Adult Survivors Act taking away the statute of limitations on rape allegations – she filed a second suit accusing him of six crimes under New York law. That case is now slated to go to trial in April.
For the last three years, Ms Carroll’s legal team has been calling on Mr Trump to hand over a DNA sample after testing found unidentified male DNA on the shoulder and sleeves of the black dress.
Until now, Mr Trump has repeatedly refused.
But, a source and experts told The Daily Beast that the sudden aboutface appears to be something of a trap.
The recent offer of a DNA sample from Mr Trump has not yet been made to Ms Carroll’s attorneys and the deadline for the discovery of evidence in the case has now passed.
This means that it is now too late for Mr Trump’s DNA to be tested against the DNA on the dress.
Legal experts told the outlet that this appears to be a legal strategy by Mr Trump’s team to show he did offer his DNA – something jurors might take as an indication of innocence – but that the defence did not test it – something jurors might take as an indication that they believe it won’t match.
“It sounds like a continuation of the dilatory tactics that Trump uses all the time,” said Albert Scherr, a University of New Hampshire law school professor who serves as one of the nation’s top experts on forensic DNA evidence, told The Daily Beast.
“As a general rule, Trump’s lawyers in every venue have the strong propensity to delay and delay and muck things up.”
It is possible – but rare – for a judge to reopen a discovery phase of a trial.
But, if this does happen, Mr Trump’s DNA could finally be tested against the infamous dress.
More than 10 women publicly accused Mr Trump of sexual misconduct during his first White House run. He denies the allegations and has not been criminally charged.
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