Judge Rejects Trump’s Last-Minute DNA Offer, former President Donald Trump missed his chance to use his DNA to try to prove he didn’t rape a longtime magazine advice columnist, a federal judge said Wednesday, clearing away a potential roadblock to an April trial.
In a recent ruling, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected the 11th-hour offer by Trump’s legal team to provide a DNA sample to rebut claims E. Jean Carroll first made publicly in a 2019 book. The offer was made just weeks before the trial was scheduled to start, and Kaplan said it would almost surely delay the proceedings.
Carroll’s lawyers have sought Trump’s DNA sample for three years to compare it with stains found on the dress Carroll wore the day she says Trump raped her in an upscale Manhattan department store dressing room in late 1995 or early 1996. An analysis of DNA on the dress concluded it did contain traces of an unknown man’s DNA.
After refusing to provide Trump’s DNA sample, his lawyers recently switched tactics, saying they would provide his DNA if Carroll’s lawyers turned over the full DNA report on the dress. However, Kaplan ruled that Trump had provided no persuasive reason to relieve him of the consequences of his failure to seek the full DNA report in a timely fashion.
The judge noted that the report did not find evidence of sperm cells and that reopening the dispute would raise a “complicated new subject into this case that both sides elected not to pursue over a period of years.” He added that a positive match of Trump’s DNA to that on the dress would prove only that there had been an encounter between Trump and Carroll on a day when she wore the dress, but that it would not prove or disprove that a rape occurred and might prove entirely inconclusive.
Kaplan wrote in an order that Trump’s conditional invitation to open a door that he kept closed for years threatens to change the nature of a trial for which both parties have been preparing for years. Whether Trump’s application is intended for a dilatory purpose or not, the potential prejudice to Carroll is apparent.
Carroll has accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s, a claim he has denied. While the case focuses on the question of whether Trump defamed Carroll by denying her allegations, the potential introduction of DNA evidence could have had a significant impact on the trial. With Kaplan’s ruling, the trial is set to proceed as scheduled in April.