(New York) A civil defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump opens Tuesday in New York, a former American journalist, E. Jean Carroll, accusing the former president of the United States of having raped her in the 1990s .

The proceedings, in the almost certain absence of Mr. Trump, will begin in Manhattan Federal Civil Court once the jury has been selected, which will have to determine the amount of reparations to be awarded to this former Elle magazine columnist today. 79 years old.

It’s a tricky legal case — for alleged defamation amid rape allegations — that has pitted Ms. Carroll against Mr. Trump, the billionaire ex-president, since 2019, hemmed in by court cases, including a landmark criminal indictment in early April. in New York for 34 accounting and tax frauds.

At 76, the former tenant of the White House (2017-2021) dreams of being re-elected in November 2024.

Ms. Carroll accuses Mr. Trump of raping her in a New York department store fitting room in 1995 or 1996.

Having chosen civil defamation proceedings in November 2019, she then filed a complaint against Mr. Trump because he had called the rape allegations in June of the same year a “complete lie”.

The Republican president at the time always replied that Ms. Carroll was “not his kind of woman” and his lawyers claimed that he was protected, in 2019, by his immunity as head of state.

As for the rape charges, Ms. Carroll was unable to file a complaint in 2019 since the alleged facts were time-barred.

However, on November 24, 2022, a New York State law (“Adult Survivors Act”) came into force allowing victims of sexual assault to resume their civil lawsuit for one year.

Ms. Carroll therefore filed a new civil complaint in November in New York for “libel” but also “assault” and “assault” and demanded a lawsuit for damages, her lawyers accusing, in the complaint, Mr. Trump of “groping, groping and raping her”.

The civil trial, which could last one to two weeks, was due to open on April 10 but was pushed back to Tuesday.

The two protagonists had produced their sworn depositions in October.

During his testimony by video link, released by the courts in January, Donald Trump had reaffirmed his line of defense: “I will say this with the greatest respect: first, she is not my type; then it never happened.”

But, comically, in front of a photo where he appeared with Ms. Carroll at a reception in the 1990s, Mr. Trump then confused her with his former wife, actress Marla Maples, 59, to whom he was married from 1993 to 1999.