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Friend says Carroll called her after Trump attack

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A friend of E Jean Carroll has testified the writer called her "minutes" after Donald Trump allegedly raped her in a Manhattan department store.

Ms Carroll, who is suing Mr Trump for rape, says she told just two friends about the alleged attack.

"E Jean said to me many times, 'He pulled down my tights,'" Lisa Birnbach testified on Tuesday.

Mr Trump has consistently denied the accusation, calling it "fiction".

The civil case in a Manhattan federal court centres on an alleged encounter between Ms Carroll and the former president more than two decades ago.

According to Ms Carroll, 79, the two ran into each other at the Bergdorf Goodman store. Ms Carroll accompanied Mr Trump to the store's lingerie department where he manoeuvred her into a dressing room and allegedly raped her.

Speaking to the jury on Tuesday, Ms Birnbach said she received an "emotional" call from Ms Carroll just minutes after the alleged encounter on a spring evening in 1996.

"She said, 'Lisa, you're not going to believe what happened to me," said Ms Birnbach, a journalist and author. "It sounded like she had this surge of adrenaline."

Ms Carroll described Mr Trump pulling her tights down and penetrating her, Ms Birnbach said. "I whispered, 'E Jean, he raped you. You should go to police."

But Ms Carroll refused, Ms Birnbach said, and asked her not to tell anyone about the incident.

Under cross-examination, Ms Birnbach faced questions from Trump lawyer W Perry Brandt. Mr Brandt pushed Ms Birnbach about her political affiliations, suggesting that Ms Birnbach, a Democrat, may have a bias against the former Republican president.

He highlighted excerpts from podcast episodes in which Ms Birnbach described Mr Trump as "an infection like herpes" and "a narcissistic sociopath".

Ms Birnbach replied she would "never in a million years" lie to politically damage Mr Trump - who has announced his 2024 run for president.

"I am here because my friend, my good friend, who was a good person, told me something terrible that happened to her and as a result, she lost her employment and her life became very, very difficult," she said.

The court also heard from Jessica Leeds, who testified that Mr Trump had groped her on flight to New York in 1979, in what Ms Carroll's lawyers said was a pattern of behaviour.

"It was out of the blue," said Ms Leeds, who was 37 at the time of the attack. "He was trying to kiss me. He was trying to pull me towards him. He was grabbing my breasts. It was like he had 40 million hands."

When Mr Trump started putting his hand up her skirt, Ms Leeds said, she had a "jolt of strength" and freed herself. She did not report the encounter, she said, saying that "at that time and that place... men could basically get away with a lot".

Mr Trump has denied Ms Leeds' allegation.

He has not yet attended the trial, now on its fifth day. His lawyer Joe Tacopina told the judge on Tuesday that the former president will not be appearing in this case, to which the judge stated that it is "his call".

A former columnist for Elle magazine, Ms Carroll was able to bring the civil case against Mr Trump after New York passed the Adult Survivors Act in 2022.

The act allowed a one-year period for victims to file sexual assault lawsuits in the state over claims that would have normally exceeded statute limitations.

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