Following sexual assault allegation, Carroll seeks Trump's DNA

Trump's lawyers recently tried and failed to make E. Jean Carroll's lawsuit go away, and the case is now proceeding in ways the president probably won't like.
E. Jean Carroll
E. Jean Carroll, a New York-based advice columnist, claims Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in a dressing room at a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s. Trump denies knowing Carroll.Craig Ruttle / AP
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By Steve Benen

After Donald Trump's lawyers recently tried and failed to make E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit go away, the case is proceeding in ways the president probably won't like. The Associated Press reported today:

Lawyers for a woman who accuses President Donald Trump of raping her in the 1990s are asking for a DNA sample, seeking to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress she says she wore during the encounter.

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll's lawyers served notice to a Trump attorney Thursday for Trump to submit a sample on March 2 in Washington for "analysis and comparison against unidentified male DNA present on the dress."

Several other people were tested and eliminated as possible contributors to the mix, according to the lab report, which was obtained by The Associated Press. Their names are redacted.

While the notice is a demand, such demands often spur court fights requiring a judge to weigh in on whether they will be enforced.

For those who may need a refresher on the controversy, Carroll spent years as a prominent writer, media figure, and advice columnist, including having hosted a show on America’s Talking, which later became MSNBC. As regular readers may recall, in June, she also joined a long list of women who’ve accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

Indeed, in a book published last year, Carroll described an alleged encounter in a New York department store in the mid-1990s, which the writer described as a violent sexual assault committed by the future president. Though definitively proving or disproving Caroll’s claim is difficult – there is no security footage to review – the writer said she confided in two friends shortly after the alleged incident, telling them at the time what she said occurred. Those friends soon after came forward with on-the-record accounts.

She also wrote on her book, "The Donna Karan coatdress still hangs on the back of my closet door, unworn and unlaundered since that evening."

Carroll added in a statement today, "Unidentified male DNA on the dress could prove that Donald Trump not only knows who I am, but also that he violently assaulted me in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman and then defamed me by lying about it and impugning my character."

The president has denied the claim, arguing, among other things, that his latest accuser is a “liar” who isn’t his “type.” It's what prompted Carroll to sue Trump for defamation.

When the allegations first surfaced over the summer, Trump issued a statement claiming that he’s never met E. Jean Carroll. There is, however, a photograph of the two interacting at an event in the mid-1980s.

It’s also worth noting for context that the public was confronted with a recording from 2005 in which Trump was heard bragging about committing sexual assaults. The Republican said that he kisses women he considers attractive – “I don’t even wait,” Trump claimed at the time – which he said he could get away with because of his public profile.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said on the recording. “You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p—y.”

Among the claims raised by Carroll was an allegation, denied by the president, that Trump “forced his fingers around my private area.”

MORE: Today's Maddowblog