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April 27, 2023

E. Jean Carroll and Me

I knew her in college. Now, 60 years later, she has made her mark and it is getting larger with the passage of time.

WASHINGTON — I am about to put the finishing touches on my memoir. The book will be about 400 pages in length, but I had a lot to reveal. I spent some time dilating on my adventures with the world champion Indiana University swim team. It seemed that everyone on the team held a world record but me.

Then there was the founding of The American Spectator and all that that entailed. It actually covered 55 years of my life. Who said a dead-end job could be boring? I have met more than interesting athletes at the Spectator. There have been politicians, statesmen, intellectuals, pseudo-intellectuals, billionaires, scoundrels, and, of course, there have been Hollywoodians who crossed my path. I even had a brief encounter with Madonna — the entertainer, not the religious figure. There were many celebrated figures that my readers will know, for instance, Donald Trump and, ever so briefly, Bobby Kennedy. There were people whom readers will not be acquainted with but will find, I should think, interesting, for instance, Luigi Barzini.

However, now that I am about finished with this tome, people are emerging from the woodwork whom I had forgotten, who never seemed interesting at the time that I met them, but now, after all these years, they are showing promise. Does the name E. Jean Carroll ring a bell? I knew her in college. Now, 60 years later, she has made her mark and it is getting larger with the passage of time.

She may well become a Joan of Arc figure, saving us from a second presidential round with Donald Trump. I knew her simply as Jeannie Carroll, but now since her late 1990s encounter with Donald (she is vague about the precise date) in the lingerie department at Bergdorf Goodman, the posh department store, she is becoming a major figure in the making of current American history. It was in the lingerie department of Bergdorf Goodman that she says he raped her. After much reflection she agreed to sue him for defamation in 2019 and for rape in 2022. Her charges get more serious as time goes by.

I knew her back at Indiana University as a fellow student. She hung around with the swimming team. She was for a while the girlfriend of Mike Troy, the 1960 Olympic champion for the 200-meter butterfly. Mike was also the world record holder for that event. She was also a college celebrity in her own right. In 1963 she was crowned Miss Indiana University and in 1964 she hit the big time. She was named Miss Cheerleader USA.

As time went by, I lost touch with Jeannie. Somehow, she popped up in New York City, and if my memory serves, she called me from time to time. She had become an advice columnist for Elle magazine where she served for some 27 years and distinguished herself by dispensing daring advice on her readers’ personal problems often involving sexual congress and what to wear on one’s first date. Elle fired her in February 2020 according to Wikipedia, though it is not clear why. And, oh yes, she had by then discarded her name “Jeannie” and acquired the more literary name of “E. Jean Carroll.” Whether it helped her or not I cannot say. I did not follow her career closely until recently when she brought in lawyers and joined in the pursuit of the former president.

Now she has the former president in court in Manhattan, and the charge is rape. Donald is charged, not E. Jean. She claims she met him while leaving Bergdorf Goodman in “late 1995 or early 1996,” and he asked her to help him pick out a gift “for a woman.” She agreed. After all she had been an advice columnist for 27 years, and apparently Donald kept up with her work. They hit it off immediately, and together they proceeded to the fabled department store’s lingerie section. Eventually they found themselves in a secluded dressing room where he, according to E. Jean, raped her. According to published reports, it took him two to three minutes. What happened after that is unclear, but apparently after a great deal of thought she finally filed a lawsuit against him last November. As for Donald, he says he does not even know her.

Well, I am left with a problem. I did know her, but that was 60 years ago. There is no reference to her in my 400-page book. Donald got a whole chapter. Is it too late to add a few sentences about E. Jean? How about Mike Troy?

Glory to Ukraine!

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