Trump DNA Sought in Sexual Assault Allegation
Unlike many of the seemingly disappearing lawsuits that have been filed against Donald Trump, E. Jean Carroll's case has been building quietly. Now she wants his DNA in order to prove her allegations. What does this monumental decision mean for DNA testing, paternity, and presidential politics?
E. Jean Carroll Wants Trump’s DNA to Prove Sexual Assault Allegations
Author E. Jean Carroll, who has recently accused President Trump of sexual assault dating back to the 1990s has filed documents in court to try and obtain his DNA. Her lawyers are hoping to match his DNA with unidentified male DNA that was found on the dress she was wearing during her assault.
Unlike many of the other lawsuits that have been filed against Donald Trump, Carroll’s case has been building quietly over the last several months. If her petition is successful, it could mark a huge turning point in the public life of this turbulent president.
Even if Carroll’s lawyers’ petition is unsuccessful, this case brings the role of DNA testing into the public consciousness and shows how important it is to the judicial process — especially in cases that happened years or even decades ago.
The History of E. Jean Carroll’s Accusation
E. Jean Carroll is an author and journalist who was the voice behind Elle magazine’s advice column “Ask E. Jean” from 1993 until 2019. In 2003, it was ranked as one of the seven best magazine columns in the United States by the Chicago Tribune.
In her most recent book What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, she accused Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman’s in New York City in the mid-1990s. Trump and Carroll had recognized each other from being popular New York City figures, and he convinced her to help him pick out a gift in an attempt to get closer. Eventually, she says, he cornered her into a dressing room and sexually assaulted her.
Like many women, she sat on this story, telling no one except two close friends for years. Eventually, she wrote about the encounter and decided to publish it in her upcoming book. Eleven days before the book was set to be released by her publisher, she wrote an article in New York magazine laying out the details of the assault.
Trump’s response to Carroll’s allegations was typical for him — a flat denial, and a counter-accusation that she was a liar and not attractive enough to warrant his sexual interest. Carroll had never filed a police report after the incident, but his denial and the counterattacking allegation that she was a liar was enough for her to file a defamation lawsuit against him.
Before oral arguments in Carroll v. Trump even began, Carroll’s lawyers filed a request for a DNA sample from the president, hoping to match it to unidentified male DNA found on her dress during a DNA test.
The DNA evidence on the dress is extremely important, as it may be the only physical evidence available to attorneys when this case goes forward. The dress in question is a black Donna Karan coat dress worn by Carroll on the day she was assaulted. She has kept it, unworn and unwashed, since that day. Her lawyer had it tested, and the lab’s report turned up DNA from four unique individuals, at least one of them a man. Several people close to Carroll have undergone DNA testing to rule them out as possible DNA matches and have since been eliminated.
Trump’s lawyers have argued that all movement on the Carroll v. Trump case should stop and await the results of another case, filed by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, which will give a ruling on whether state courts have jurisdiction against a sitting president.
Right now, the judge in Carroll’s case is deciding whether to allow the DNA request and all other aspects of this case to proceed. Her written decision is still pending.
To ensure the case goes ahead, Carroll has said that she is willing to wait to receive Trump’s DNA until after the judge’s ruling is handed down, in order to negate the argument that the request is a burden on the sitting president.
Evidence Gathering with Alternative Specimen DNA Tests
Right now, we’re in uncharted territory as the judge on Carroll’s case decides whether to allow this type of evidence gathering to go forward against a sitting president. Lawyers from both sides eagerly await her ruling, as well as the decision from the Summer Zervos case, to figure out how they should move forward.
However this case turns out, it has brought public attention to the incredible potential for DNA testing — especially for alternative specimen DNA tests that can pull DNA from fabric or bodily fluids – even envelope flaps. These tests have the potential to offer answers even decades after the incident in question and can provide hope for anyone seeking new information.