New York Times executive editor: 'We were overly cautious' in handling of latest Trump allegation

New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet on Monday addressed criticisms that the newspaper did not adequately cover advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s allegation that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE raped her, conceding that the paper was “overly cautious.”

The Times covered the accusation, which appears in Carroll’s forthcoming memoir, “What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal,” in its books section.

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In explaining the decision, Baquet wrote that during its investigations into sexual misconduct claims against film producer Harvey Weinstein and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, the paper developed informal guidelines for such allegations that included publishing them only if corroborating sources would go on the record.

Two friends who have corroborated Carroll’s claim that she told them about the alleged incident spoke to the Times but asked for their names to be withheld, according to the Times.

However, Baquet said, Carroll’s allegations differed from the earlier cases because they were already public rather than part of a Times investigation.

“We were playing by rules that didn’t quite apply,” Baquet said. “They’ve allowed us to break major stories, from Bill O’Reilly to Harvey Weinstein. But in this case, it was a different kind of story.” He conceded that the fact that Carroll is a public figure accusing a sitting president “should’ve compelled us to play it bigger.”

Trump has denied the allegations and ever meeting Carroll despite the fact that a photo of the two accompanied the excerpt in New York Magazine. More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, with several of the allegations broken by the Times in 2016.