A writer who claims Donald Trump raped her nearly three decades ago in a department store changing room has told a court: “I’m here to try and get my life back.”

“I’m here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he lied and said it didn’t happen,” E Jean Carroll told jurors at a federal court in New York.

“He lied and shattered my reputation, and I’m here to try and get my life back.”

The 79-year-old former Elle magazine advice columnist is seeking unspecified damages from Mr Trump.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump denies the allegations against him. File pic

On Wednesday she took the witness stand for her civil lawsuit against the former US president to testify about a chance meeting with him in the mid-1990s that she alleges turned violent.

She claimed after running into Mr Trump at Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman, they teased one another to try on a piece of lingerie.

Ms Carroll alleged they ended up alone together in a changing room, where Mr Trump pushed her against a wall and raped her before she fought him off and fled.

She told jurors she blamed herself and also feared she would be fired and that Mr Trump would retaliate if she reported the “extremely painful” encounter.

“As I’m sitting here today I can still feel it,” she said. “It left me unable to ever have a romantic life again.”

Asked by her lawyer if she said “no” to Mr Trump, Ms Carroll replied “I may have said it”, but did not know.

Since she first made her accusations in a 2019 memoir, Mr Trump, 76, has denied that a rape ever occurred or that he even knew Ms Carroll.

He has labelled her a “nut job” and “mentally sick” and claimed she fabricated the rape claim to boost sales of her book.

“I’m not settling a political score at all,” Ms Carroll told the Manhattan courtroom.

“I’m settling a personal score because he called me a liar repeatedly, and it really has decimated my reputation.”

She said Mr Trump’s attacks caused Elle to fire her, costing her eight million readers, and left others convinced she was a liar.

Asked if she regretted ending her silence, she said: “I’ve regretted this about 100 times, but in the end being able to get my day in court finally is everything to me.”

Before the hearing started, Mr Trump – who is not expected to testify – called Ms Carroll’s lawyer a “political operative” and the rape claim “a made-up scam”.

“This is a fraudulent and false story – witch hunt!” Mr Trump wrote in his Truth Social post.

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District Judge Lewis Kaplan warned Mr Trump’s lawyers he could face more legal problems if he kept discussing the case.

The trial also includes a defamation claim that Ms Carroll brought against Mr Trump over disparaging remarks he made about her in response to the rape allegations.

It is being held in a federal civil court, meaning that no matter what the outcome is, Mr Trump cannot be sent to prison.

It comes as Mr Trump is again running to become president.

The allegations normally would be too old to bring to court, but in November, New York state enacted a law allowing for lawsuits over decades-old sexual abuse claims.

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