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Joe Tacopina’s grilling of E. Jean Carroll may be backfiring.
In his opening statement in the ongoing civil sexual assault and defamation trial against former president Donald Trump, his attorney Joe Tacopina was aggressive, scathing and snarling in his attacks on E. Jean Carroll, the writer who has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1997.
By Carroll’s admission, her story contains inconsistencies. She can’t remember the date the assault occurred, for example, and has said she doesn’t know why she went into the dressing room with Trump that day. In his opener, Tacopina told the jury he would expose all of Carroll’s inconsistencies, show that she was indeed the liar Trump claimed her to be, and prove she made up the entire story in pursuit of public attention.
But on Thursday, when Tacopina, a burly, muscular man with a growling deep voice and a thick Brooklyn accent, had his chance to question Carroll, a former fixture of New York media society, now 79, he hit a brick wall. Carroll parried his initial attempts to unravel inconsistencies in her story, so the lawyer proceeded to grill her on slight inconsistencies between her testimony in a deposition last fall and what she has said on the stand this week. Those efforts left even the judge, Lewis Kaplan, appearing exasperated, and snapping at Tacopina to move on.
But when Tacopina tried to challenge Carroll about why she did not scream when Trump was allegedly raping her violently, Carroll ultimately delivered a strong rebuke.
“I’m not a screamer, I was in too much of a panic, I was fighting,” she responded to his initial query.
Tacopina pressed further—and Carroll pushed back. “You can’t beat up on me for not screaming,” she said, firmly.
“I’m not beating you up!” Tacopina said, appearing flustered.