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'Donald Trump Raped Me,' E. Jean Carroll Testifies in Court

'Donald Trump Raped Me,' E. Jean Carroll Testifies in Court

E. Jean Carroll at court
Photo by Seth Wenig/AP

Carroll is suing Trump for battery and defamation.

By Lauren del Valle, CNN

Editor's note: This story contains graphic descriptions of an alleged assault.

(CNN) -- Former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll took the stand Wednesday morning in her battery and defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump.

"I'm here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn't happen," Carroll testified. "He lied and shattered my reputation and I'm here to try to get my life back."

Carroll is suing Trump for battery and defamation, alleging that he raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the spring of 1996 and then defamed her years later when she went public with the allegations. Trump has repeatedly denied her allegations.

On the stand, Carroll recalled being "delighted" to be shopping with Trump, thinking it'd be a great story to tell friends.

"Well, it was such a funny New York scene," Carroll said she thought at the time. "I love to give advice and here was Donald Trump asking me for advice about buying a present."

She was not at all fearful of Trump, who was friendly and very funny. "I was absolutely enchanted, I could only think of it as a scene that is such a great story," Carroll said.

The tone of their conversation was "very joshing and light" as they moved through the store.

Carroll was too focused on Trump to notice anyone else once they took the escalator from the first floor, she testified.

"I wasn't looking, I was watching him and watching that I didn't fall when the escalator hit the top."

Carroll recalled she was probably flirting with Trump the whole time before the alleged assault, not thinking it was intimate or serious.

When the two made their way to the lingerie department, Carroll said the "comedy was escalating" but it never occurred to her that Trump might try to rape her.

Zeroing in on a sheer gray bodysuit, Trump told Carroll to try it on, she said. She jokingly told him he should try it on instead.

Carroll had no intention to try on the lingerie, she testified Wednesday, but followed Trump's gesture into the dressing room thinking the moment could be a funny "Saturday Night Live" sketch.

"I didn't picture anything about what was about to happen," she said Wednesday. "That open door has plagued me for years because I just walked into it, walked in."

Carroll recounted how Trump allegedly shoved her against the wall despite her struggles and eventually inserted his fingers and then his penis inside her.

She recalled the pain she felt in the back of her head and her vagina.

Growing emotional on the stand, Carroll took a long pause as her attorney asked what she did after Trump allegedly forced himself inside her.

"When you ask me what I did in that moment," Carroll said, stuttering through tears, "I always think -- I always think of why I walked in there to get myself in that situation. But I'm proud to say I did get out, I got my knee up and pushed him back."

Testimony from former store manager

Before Carroll took the stand, former Bergdorf Goodman Women's Store Manager Cheryl Beall testified for under an hour as Carroll's first witness in the civil trial.

Beall worked at the luxury department store for a decade until about 1998, and had an office on the sixth floor adjacent to the lingerie department where Carroll has alleged Trump raped her.

She walked the jury through a floor plan of the sixth floor from the relevant time period, describing the layout and fitting rooms on that floor as a wooden-walled room with walls that met the ceiling. The fitting room door locked automatically when closed, she testified.

Beall said the store had a practice of keeping fitting room doors closed while not in use, but they'd "regularly" be left open.

Bergdorf Goodman scheduled at least one person to monitor each department at all times but it was not uncommon that the area on the sixth floor would be left unmanned, especially on a slow evening, Beall said.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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