Journalist E Jean Carroll accused Donald Trump of raping her in a department store.

As the civil trial begins in New York, ex-US President Donald Trump has strongly criticized the rape allegations against him and referred to the case as a “scam”

The outbursts come as the civil trial over the case got underway in New York on Tuesday, April 25.

Former columnist E Jean Carroll, 79, has sued Trump for allegedly assaulting her in a Manhattan department store in the 1996. The businessman and former president says nothing happened between the pair.

It’s expected that Ms Carroll will testify that what unfolded over several minutes “would change her life forever,” one of her laywers, Shawn Crowley, said in an opening statement.

Magazine Columnist E. Jean Carroll arrives for the first day of her civil trial against former President Donald Trump ( Image: Getty Images)

Trump has rallied against the accusations, posting on his Truth Social platform on Wednesday, April 26. He called the case a “Witch Hunt” and a “scam”.

Crowley went on to say: “Filled with fear and shame, she kept silent for decades. Eventually, though, silence became impossible.”

Ms Carroll broke her silence and made the claims in a 2019 memoir, with Crowley saying the then-president “used the most powerful platform on Earth to lie about what he had done, attack Ms Carroll’s integrity and insult her appearance.”

Trump was not present in court, however he hasn’t ruled out testifying. Defense attorney Joe Tacopina called Ms Carroll’s story wildly implausible and short of evidence in front of jurors on the first day of trial.

Tacopina accused Ms Carroll of pursuing the case for money, status and politics reasons. He urged jurors to put aside any hostility they may have toward the Republican ex-president.

“You can hate Donald Trump. That’s OK,” he told the court. “But there’s a time and a secret place for that. It’s called a ballot box in an election.

“It’s not here in a court of law. Nobody’s above the law, but no one is beneath it.”

We’ll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story.

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