Former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll sued former President Donald Trump for assault and defamation under a new New York law that allows adults who allege sexual assault to bring claims years after the assault.
Carroll filed the lawsuit Thursday, the first day civil lawsuits can be filed under the new law, the Adult Survivors Act, which gives adults a one-year window to file a claim.
The lawsuit is the second that Carroll has brought against Trump, but the first to try to hold him accountable for the beating for the alleged rape of Carroll in the dressing room of a New York department store in the mid-1990s. The lawsuit also asserts a new defamation claim based on statements Trump made last month.
Carroll is asking a judge to order Trump to retract his defamatory statements and award compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages in an amount to be determined at trial.
“Trump’s underlying sexual assault seriously injured Carroll, causing her substantial pain and suffering, permanent psychological harm, loss of dignity, and invasion of her privacy. His recent defamatory statement has only added to the harm Carroll had already suffered,” the lawsuit alleges.
At a court hearing Tuesday for the earlier lawsuit, Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, told Judge Lewis Kaplan that she had not yet been retained to represent Trump in the Adult Survivors Act lawsuit.
Kaplan noted that Trump has known this lawsuit “was coming for months and would be well advised to decide who represents him in it.”
In 2019, Carroll sued Trump for defamation after he denied her claim of sexual assault, saying she never met Carroll, she wasn’t his type, and that she was making up the story to boost sales of her new book.
In Thursday’s lawsuit, those previous statements by Carroll were reinstated and a new one was added, from October 2022, when Trump said similar things about her as he was set to sit for a deposition related to the 2019 lawsuit.
“I don’t know this woman, I have no idea who she is, except it seems she got a picture of me years ago, with her husband, shaking my hand on a reception line at a celebrity charity event . She totally made up a story that I met her at the doors of this crowded Department Store in New York City and, within minutes, ‘swooned’ her,” Trump posted on his Truth Social social media platform.
“It’s a hoax and a lie, just like all the other hoaxes that have been played on me for the past seven years. And, although I’m not supposed to say it, I will. This woman is not my type!” the post said.
Habba responded to the filing on Thursday, saying, “While I respect and admire individuals who come forward, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this Act which creates a terrible precedent that’ n run the risk of delegating the credibility of real victims.”
Carroll’s 2019 defamation lawsuit against Trump has been hanging in the balance. Trump’s attorneys challenged the lawsuit saying the Justice Department should be substituted as the defendants because Trump, as president, was answering reporters’ questions about Carroll’s allegations. The Department of Justice 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 an appeals court in Washington, DC to decide whether the statements were within the scope of his employment.
The DC appeals court has fast-tracked the case and could decide early next year. If the court rules against Carroll, the case will likely be dismissed because the federal government cannot be sued for defamation.
If the 2019 case is dismissed, the defamation claims from 2022 would not be affected because Trump was not a federal employee last month when he made the new statements.
Carroll’s lawyers previously asked Kaplan to combine the 2019 and 2022 cases into one trial early next year. The judge said he would weigh in next week.