E. Jean Carroll is suing Trump for assault and defamation as a window opens on lawsuits from survivors of adult sexual abuse in New York



CNN

Ex-magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll is suing former President Donald Trump for assault and defamation under a new New York law that allows adults alleging sexual assault to file claims years after the attack.

Carroll filed the lawsuit Thursday, the first day civil suits can be filed under new law, the Adult Survivors Act, which gives adults a one-year window to file a claim.

The lawsuit is the second Carroll has filed against Trump, but the first seeking to hold him accountable for alleged battery rape of Carroll in the dressing room of a New York department store in the mid-1990s. The lawsuit also alleges a new defamation lawsuit based on statements made by Trump last month.

Carroll is asking a judge to order Trump to withdraw his defamatory statements and award compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages in an amount to be determined in court.

“Trump’s underlying sexual assault severely injured Carroll, causing significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological damage, loss of dignity and invasion of her privacy. His recent defamatory statement only added to the damage Carroll has already suffered,” the lawsuit reads.

At a court hearing Tuesday for the earlier lawsuit, Trump attorney Alina Habba told Judge Lewis Kaplan that she has not yet been assigned to represent Trump in the Adult Survivors Act lawsuit.

Kaplan noted that Trump knew this lawsuit “was coming for months and would be wise to decide who would represent him in it.”

In 2019, Carroll sued Trump for defamation after he denied her sexual assault allegation, saying he had never met Carroll, she wasn’t his type and that she made up the story to boost sales of her new book.

In Thursday’s lawsuit, Carroll repeated those earlier statements and added a new one from October 2022, when Trump said similar things about her when he was due to sit for testimony related to the 2019 lawsuit.

“I don’t know this woman, have no idea who she is, apart from the fact that she apparently received a photo of me with her husband many years ago, shaking my hand on a reception line at a celebrity charity event. She completely made up the story that I met her at the doors of this crowded department store in New York City and ‘passed out’ within minutes,” Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social.

“It’s a scam and a lie, just like every other scam that’s been played to me in the past seven years. And though I shouldn’t say it, I will. This woman is not my type!” said the post.

Carroll’s 2019 defamation lawsuit against Trump hangs in limbo. Trump’s attorneys challenged the lawsuit, saying the Justice Department should be replaced as a defendant because Trump, as president, was answering reporters’ questions about Carroll’s allegations. The Justice Department agreed.

Kaplan ruled in Carroll’s favor, but Trump and the Justice Department appealed. A federal appeals court in New York ruled that Trump was a federal employee at the time, but asked a Washington, D.C. appeals court to determine whether the statements fell within the scope of his employment.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has accelerated the case and could decide early next year. If the court rules against Carroll, the case will likely be dismissed since the federal government cannot be sued for defamation.

If the 2019 case is dismissed, the 2022 defamation claims would not be affected because Trump was not a federal employee when he made the new statements last month.

Carroll’s attorneys had previously asked Kaplan to combine the 2019 and 2022 lawsuits in one trial early next year. The judge said he would weigh himself next week.

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