US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan Friday ruled that “Access Hollywood” tapes of former President Donald Trump making vulgar comments toward women can be used in a civil defamation suit brought against him by journalist E. Jean Carroll for a series of derogatory comments he made toward her after she publicly accused him of sexual assault in 2019. The case is in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Trump brought forward a motion to dismiss the tapes, which include comments he made about sexually assaulting women, as evidence. He cited Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which states that evidence that shows that an individual has a propensity for the type of behavior for which they are being tried should be precluded from the case.
However, Kaplan said that Congress enacted Rule 415 in 1994, which provides that, in a civil case regarding sexual assault, evidence showing an individual’s tendency to commit such behavior can be used in the case. Therefore, the court ruled that the tape satisfies Rule 415 and that a jury could “reasonably find” from the tape alone that Trump admitted to an “offense of sexual assault.” Kaplan further ruled that Carroll’s case against Trump is one that involves sexual assault and that the tapes of Trump making vulgar and sexual comments against women shows his tendency to commit sexual assault against women in the way that he did against Carroll.