E. Jean Carroll wasn't surprised 'Law & Order: SVU' aired Bergdorf Goodman rape scene 7 years before she made Trump allegations

·3 min read
E Jean Carroll Trump trial
E. Jean Carroll outside Manhattan federal court during her ongoing trial against former President Donald Trump.Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
  • E. Jean Carroll alleges Donald Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s.

  • "Law & Order: SVU" featured a rape scene at the same store in 2012.

  • In an email shown in court Monday, she dismissed the parallels as a coincidence.

In 2012 — seven years before E. Jean Carroll publicly accused Donald Trump of raping her — "Law & Order: SVU" aired an episode featuring a rape in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, while a victim was trying on lingerie.

Carroll's allegations against Trump, first published in a book excerpt in New York magazine in 2019, sounded remarkably similar.

She claimed that, in the mid-1990s, Trump raped her in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman's lingerie section.

In a 2019 email shown in court Monday during her civil rape and defamation trial against Trump, Carroll dismissed the eerie parallel as a coincidence.

"This happens all the time with Law and Order stories," Carroll wrote in response to an email pointing out the similarities between her story and the show's plot. "Also, there are 200 scripted shows a year on TV, this kind of thing is bound to show up."

"I'm surprised this sort of thing is not seen more often," she added.

Carroll, a longtime Elle magazine columnist, has said that Trump raped her one evening in 1995 or 1996. According to her version of events, she bumped into Trump at the entrance of the Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan and agreed to assist him in buying a gift for a female friend.

The two eventually went to the lingerie section on the sixth floor and she jokingly told him to try on a lacy bodysuit, she said. In the dressing room, Trump pushed her against the wall, penetrated her with his finger, and raped her, Carroll said.

Trump denied Carroll's claims, said he never met her (even though the two were photographed talking at a party several years earlier), said she wasn't his type, and called her a liar — which sparked Carroll's lawsuit.

law and order svu
"Law and Order: SVU."NBCUniversal

E. Jean Carroll says she's never watched the crime drama "Law and Order: SVU"

When Carroll's book excerpt was first published, some of Trump's allies claimed the writer fabricated her story based on the "Law & Order: SVU" episode. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a clip from the episode to his followers after Carroll made her allegations against his father.

In the episode, a character suspected of rape describes a sexual roleplay fantasy.

"Roleplay took place in the dressing room at Bergdorf's," the character says. "While she was trying lingerie, I would burst in."

Carroll testified in court Monday that, while she's a fan of the original "Law & Order" series, she has never watched the "SVU" series, which focuses on sex crimes, because she believes it's too violent.

She also said she didn't know about the episode before writing her book, where she first publicly disclosed her allegations against Trump, and did not base her story on it.

During the trial, Carroll testified that, within a day of the alleged rape in the 1990s, she confided separately with two friends, both of whom are scheduled to testify in the ongoing trial in Manhattan federal court. Both of the friends, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, have publicly said that Carroll told them about the incident with Trump.

"It tickled me to death," Carroll told CNN in 2019 after the "SVU" clip surfaced. "It's a great, huge coincidence, but it is a magnificent one, I must say."

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