Donald Trump is on trial, where writer E Jean Carroll accused him of raping her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s in a civil lawsuit.
On Tuesday, jury selection began in Manhattan federal court in the case involving the former advice columnist for Elle magazine, who is also accusing Trump of defamation.
Trump, 76, has denied committing a sexual assault on Carroll, 79.
In an October 2022 post on his Truth Social platform, he termed her claim a "hoax" and a "complete Scam." Trump also claimed that she fabricated the encounter to promote her memoir and stated that she was "not my type!"
The trial will likely last between one and two weeks.
It is part of many lawsuits and investigations confronting Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for 2024. It could be politically damaging if witnesses discuss his alleged sexual misconduct, which he denies.
The trial began the same day Democratic President Joe Biden declared his candidacy for a second term.
Trump was not present in court because he was not required to do so, and his attorneys have indicated he is unlikely to testify in his defense. Also, Carroll's attorneys have no plans to summon Trump as a witness.
Carroll seeks unspecified damages for what she describes as severe anguish and suffering, long-lasting psychological harm, and invasion of privacy.
Warning Against Incitement to Violence
Before jury questioning began, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan instructed the attorneys for Trump and Carroll to warn their clients and witnesses against making statements that could "incite violence or civil unrest."
Kaplan is also shielding the jurors from potential harassment by Trump supporters by maintaining their anonymity from the public, including the attorneys.
Since June 2019, when she publicly accused Trump of rape for the first time, Trump has repeatedly and personally assaulted Carroll, once labeling her mentally ill.
Carroll said she met Trump in the Bergdorf Goodman store in late 1995 or early 1996.
She stated that Trump recognized her, referring to her as "that advice lady," and requested assistance purchasing a gift for another woman.
Carroll stated that Trump then "maneuvered" her into a dressing room, where he closed the door, pushed her against a wall, removed her hosiery, and sexually assaulted her. She reported that she escaped after two to three minutes.
Trump's attorneys may attempt to undermine Carroll's credibility by pointing out that she did not contact the police, remained silent for more than two decades, and cannot even recall the date or month of the alleged assault.
Carroll stated that the #MeToo movement inspired her to speak out.
In addition, jurors are anticipated to hear the infamous 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump made vulgar comments about women.
In addition, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has filed criminal allegations against Trump for hush money payments to an adult film actress.
Trump entered a not-guilty plea on April 4 at a courthouse in New York, a three-minute walk from Tuesday's trial.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has also filed civil fraud allegations against the former president regarding his namesake company.
Trump also confronts criminal investigations into interference in Georgia's 2020 presidential election and the recovery of classified government documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate, as well as inquiries into his role in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
In each instance, Trump has denied any malfeasance.
After he initially refuted her rape claim in June 2019, while still president, Carroll is also suing Trump for defamation. This matter is still pending before Kaplan.