The Slatest

Two Women Go on the Record and Corroborate E. Jean Carroll’s Trump Sexual Assault Allegations

The luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman where E. Jean Carroll says Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s.
The luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman where E. Jean Carroll says Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s.
Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

The New York Times followed up Thursday on E. Jean Carroll’s recent rape allegation against President Donald Trump, speaking with two women who corroborated her account on the record for the first time. Carroll said she confided in two friends at the time, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, both of whom were in the New York media scene in the mid-1990s when the alleged assault in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room took place. The interview with Birnbach, Martin, and Carroll together was excerpted on the Times’ The Daily podcast. Birnbach and Martin had previously been unidentified and were speaking about the incident for the first time together since shortly after the alleged assault.

During the podcast, Carroll recounts in detail the day she met Trump at Bergdorf Goodman and how what started as what she described as a kind of harmless flirtation—a delicious anecdote for a writer—suddenly turned into something far more sinister. Carroll describes running out of the department store that day and calling Lisa Birnbach on her cellphone. The call started with Carroll laughing, they recall, before she told her friend that “he pulled down my tights.” “He put his penis in me,” Birnbach recalls Carroll telling her. Birnbach says she told Carroll that what she described was rape and tried to get her to report the incident to the police, but Carroll refused. Carroll says she felt “100 percent” responsible for the incident at the time. Within a few days, Carroll said she also told Carol Martin about her interaction with Trump. Martin responded differently than Birnbach, advising Carroll not to tell anyone for fear of what could result from making such a charge against someone so rich and powerful.

During the interview, Carroll also explains why she didn’t consider Trump’s assault rape. “Every woman gets to choose her word,” she said. “Every woman gets to choose how she describes it. This is my way of saying it. This is my word. My word is fight. My word is not the victim word. I have not been raped. Something has not been done to me. I fought. That’s the thing.”