Lawyers for E. Jean Carroll, who says that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in 1996, demanded a DNA sample from the president on Thursday. As first reported by the Associated Press, the request follows forensic testing of the dress worn by Carroll during Trump’s alleged attack. The results revealed four significant DNA contributions, including one male, on the sleeves. According to a copy of the report, viewed by New York Magazine, testing identified all but the male source of the genetic material on Carroll’s dress. Carroll’s legal team now hope to determine whether that male DNA belongs to Trump.
If Trump’s DNA is present on Carroll’s dress, it would not definitively prove that an assault occurred. But a positive result would be evidence that he had physical contact with Carroll’s clothing, and in the process would help disprove a Trump claim central to Carroll’s ongoing defamation suit. Trump insists that he has never met Carroll, a story already undermined by a photo that depicts the two of them in the same small group at an event in the 1980s.
In an excerpt from her latest book, first published in New York, Carroll said that Trump assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman’s dressing room. The future president “jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights,” she recounted, and then “thrust his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.”
In the same excerpt, Carroll said that she had not worn the dress since her assault. She reiterated that claim on Thursday. “After Trump sexually assaulted me, I took the black dress I had been wearing and hung it in my closet. I only wore it once since then and that was at the photoshoot for the New York Magazine article about my book,” she said in a statement released to the press. “Unidentified male DNA on the dress could prove that Donald Trump not only knows who I am, but also that he violently assaulted me in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman and then defamed me by lying about it and impugning my character.”
Trump denied the claims, on the basis that Carroll “is not my type.” An official White House statement accused the writer of creating a “completely false and unrealistic story” out of political animus. Carroll later sued Trump for defamation. In January, a Manhattan judge declined a request from Trump’s attorneys to dismiss the suit.
Reached by phone on Thursday, Roberta Kaplan, the co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and an attorney for Carroll, said the request for Trump’s DNA is standard. “As the technology for DNA has become more and more advanced, it’s more and more commonly used, and not just in criminal cases,” she explained. “It’s now also more common, is the way I think I would describe it, in civil cases, and certainly in civil cases where there’s an allegation of sexual assault, where it would be highly relevant.”
Kaplan said that attorneys for Trump had not yet responded to the demand.