With former President Donald Trump’s rape trial only days away, his attempt to keep jurors from hearing about another incident in which Trump reportedly forced himself on a different journalist fell failed Monday. Trump’s legal team filed their appeal too late, according to the federal court handling the case.
Jurors are now ready to hear about a separate incident that may reveal a pattern of sexual assault by the former president. It’s the latest evidence that the rape case against Trump, which has been in the works for years, may not go his way after setback after setback.
Trump will go on trial in Manhattan this week for allegedly raping magazine journalist E. Jean Carroll inside an extravagant department store changing room in the mid-1990s. Carroll was only able to expand her civil defamation lawsuit, which was essentially aimed at Trump because he claimed Carroll was lying, into a more serious battery lawsuit after New York passed a state law in November 2022 allowing alleged s*xual assault victims to file civil suits after the statute of limitations had expired. Carroll filed her amended claim just hours after the law went into effect.
The incident Trump’s lawyers scrambled to suppress in court is a distinctly similar episode; years after the alleged Carroll rape, a People journalist claimed that Trump s*xually assaulted her, too. Trump’s lawyers said that the incident was different and that jurors should not be told about it since Trump “only touched her shoulders and kissed her, and never touched or attempted to touch her genitals.”
While U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan did not decide on the merits of Trump’s lawyers’ argument, he finally ruled with Carroll’s lawyers and would allow Natasha Stoynoff, a former People reporter, to testify in the case.
Trump defense lawyer Joe Tacopina requested the federal court on Saturday to rethink his prior decision to allow Stoynoff to testify about her contact with the real estate billionaire in 2005 roughly a decade after the alleged Carroll incident.
On assignment for People, Stoynoff flew to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida for a celebrity story on Trump’s one-year wedding anniversary with his pregnant wife Melania. Melania, as Stoynoff would recall a decade later, stopped her interview to go upstairs and change her clothes for the pictures.
That’s when Trump decided to take the journalist on a tour of the property, leading her to a specific room he wanted her to view before closing the door behind them.
‘Within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” Stoynoff said in a 2016 People column. Trump was interrupted when his butler “burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself.” As they waited for his wife at an outdoor patio, Stoynoff remembered fumbling with her tape recorder when Trump leaned forward and said, “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?”