New York judge denies Trump's attempt to block 'Access Hollywood' tape at trial

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Friday, March 10, 2023
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- A federal judge in New York on Friday denied former President Trump's attempt to block excerpts of the infamous Access Hollywood tape from his upcoming defamation trial.

On the tape, which surfaced before the 2016 presidential election, Trump is heard saying that he just starts kissing beautiful women, he does not first obtain consent, that the women just let one do it when one is a "star" and that a star can "grab" beautiful women by their genitals or do anything the star wants.

Trump has dismissed the tape as "locker room talk" and argued the evidence is meant to show he has a propensity for sexual assault. While the rules ordinarily prevent such propensity evidence the judge said it can be allowed in a civil case based on an alleged sexual assault.

"It is simply not the Court's function in ruling on the admissibility of this evidence to decide what Mr. Trump meant or how to interpret his statements," Judge Lewis Kaplan said.

The judge also denied Trump's attempt to preclude the testimony of two women other than accuser E. Jean Carroll. The two women, Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, have previously claimed Trump sexually assault them, which he denies.

"Mr. Trump has claimed that Ms. Leeds is a liar and that no such event ever occurred. And he will be entitled to make that argument to the jury. But that is not now the issue," Kaplan said.

The judge left open a question of whether Carroll's attorneys could use seven excerpts of speeches Trump gave on 2016 campaign trail. Each of the excerpts contain assertions by Trump that women who have accused him of sex assault were lying and their looks were unappealing to Trump.

Carroll has alleged Trump sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s and defamed her when he denied her claim. Trial is scheduled to begin next month pending a decision in a separate court that could prevent the case from moving ahead. Carroll has filed a second lawsuit against Trump that alleged defamation and battery, which Trump has also denied.

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