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Trump team e. Jean Carroll will not call witnesses in a libel trial

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team will not call any witnesses to the stand in the ongoing trial of the author E. Gene Carroll’s federal battery and defamation caseTrump’s attorney on Wednesday.

The attorney, Joe Tacopina, told the judge Wednesday that one potential witness, a psychiatrist, would be unable to testify because of a medical problem. Tacopina said Tuesday that the only other person on Trump’s witness list, Trump himself, does not intend to testify.

Defendants have no obligation to call witnesses at trial and often choose not to, since plaintiffs have the burden of proof to make their case.

Earlier on Wednesday, a clinical psychologist who examined Carroll said she suffered the effects of trauma from Trump’s alleged attack. In the lawsuit and on the stand, Carroll claimed that Trump raped her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s. Trump denied the allegations and accused Carroll of making up the story in an effort to sell the book.

Leslie Lebovitz, a trauma specialist hired by Carroll’s attorneys to examine her, said Wednesday that she found during the 20-hour interview that Carroll “exhibited very significant withdrawal symptoms, which diminished her romantic and intimate life and caused profound damage.”

Psychologist Leslie Lebowitz, right, E.  Jean Carroll's attorney, Roberta Kaplan, left, testifies in direct examination in Manhattan federal court, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in New York.

Psychologist Leslie Lebowitz, right, E. Jean Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, left, testifies in direct examination in Manhattan federal court, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in New York.

Elizabeth Williams / AP

Lebovitz testified that Carroll experienced trauma that affected her behavior and self-concept and made her shut down in the presence of certain men, such as “a metal grate over a storefront window.”

During cross-examination, one of Trump’s attorneys, Chad Siegel, pointed out that Lebovitz did not rate Carroll as “bad” or lying. Siegel argued that his conclusions depended on the assumption that Carroll was telling the truth. Lebowitz says he disagrees with her description.

Other witnesses called by Carroll include two former employees of Bergdorf Goodman, the department store where Carroll says a chance encounter with Trump turned into; a friend who said Carroll hid from him the night of the alleged assault; and a woman who said Trump sexually assaulted her on a plane in 1979.

Trump also denied the allegations.

Carroll is seeking unspecified damages and what he says is a retraction of Trump’s defamatory comments. His legal team is on track to finish presenting their case on Thursday and closing arguments will begin on Monday, the judge told the court. The jury could begin deliberations as soon as Tuesday if the trial continues as scheduled.

Claire Hyams contributed reporting.

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