E Jean Carroll files assault and defamation charges against Donald Trump over alleged rape some 27 years ago.
A writer who has accused former US President Donald Trump of rape has filed a second lawsuit against him minutes after a new New York state law allowing victims of sexual violence to sue over assaults decades ago went into effect.
E. Jean Carroll’s complaint, filed in federal court in New York City, accuses Trump of assault “when he violently raped and fondled her” and defamation, citing an October post on his Truth Social platform. in which he denied the alleged rape.
Carroll is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for pain and suffering, psychological harm, loss of dignity and damage to reputation.
A longtime columnist for Elle magazine, Carroll first made allegations of sexual assault in a 2019 book, saying Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Manhattan luxury department store in 1995 or 1996.
She brought the battery lawsuit under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, a new law that gives victims of sexual assault a one-year window to sue their alleged abusers, even if the abuse happened a long time ago and statutes of limitations have expired.
Thursday, November 24 – Thanksgiving Day and a national holiday in the United States – was the first day prosecutors could sue. Her attorney filed the legal paperwork electronically in the first few moments of the day.
Trump has denied raping Carroll or even knowing her at the time, saying she was “not my type.”
His first denial in June 2019 prompted her to sue for defamation five months later, but that lawsuit has been heard in appellate courts as judges decide whether Trump is protected from legal claims for comments he made during his tenure as president.
He repeated the denial in an Oct. 12 post on his Truth Social account, calling Carroll’s claim a “hoax” and a “lie,” leading to the new allegation of defamation.
Trump said in his statement that Carroll “completely made up a story that I met her at the doors of this crowded department store in New York City and ‘passed out’ within minutes. It’s a hoax and a lie, just like all the other hoaxes that have been played on me over the past seven years.”
Both sides are awaiting appeals court decisions addressing Trump’s argument that he has immunity as president.
Carroll’s new suit circumvents that problem because Trump was no longer incumbent president in October.
Should the courts ultimately rule that Trump’s original derogatory statements about Carroll’s rape allegation were part of his professional duties as president, she would be barred from suing him over those statements because federal employees are protected from claims of defamation. No such protection would cover things he did before he became president.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is presiding over the defamation lawsuit that Carroll filed three years ago, may decide to include the new claims in a trial expected to take place in the spring.
The first lawsuit was scheduled for February 6, 2023 before Kaplan in Manhattan but will likely be delayed due to the appeals process.
At a Tuesday hearing, Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, had asked for an April 10 trial covering both claims, saying they had significant overlap.
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, filed for a trial on May 8 for only the first lawsuit. She also told the judge a longer delay made sense because Trump did not hire an attorney for the second lawsuit.
“Your client in the present lawsuit, Ms. Habba, has known for months that this is coming and he would be well advised to decide who will represent him in it,” the judge replied.
Judge Kaplan said he could decide how to schedule both lawsuits early next week.
Previously, under state law, Carroll was barred from filing a complaint about the alleged rape because too many years had passed since the incident.