Former 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 file claims years after the attack.
Carroll filed the suit Thursday, the first day civil lawsuits can be filed under the new law, Adult Survivors Actwhich gives adults a year to file a claim.
The trial is the second Carroll has filed a lawsuit against Trump, but the first to try to hold him liable for rape for allegedly raping Carroll in the dressing room of a New York department store in the mid-1990s. The lawsuit also alleges 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 significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological harm, loss of dignity and invasion of her privacy. His latest defamatory statement has only added to the harm Carroll had already suffered,” the lawsuit alleges. .
At a hearing Tuesday for the earlier trial, Trump 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 would “be coming for months, and he would be wise to decide who represents him in it.”
In 2019, Carroll sued Trump for defamation after he denied her sexual assault accusation, he said he never met Carroll, that she wasn’t his type and that she made up the story to boost sales of her new book.
In Thursday’s court hearing, Carroll repeated those earlier statements and added a new one, from October 2022when Trump said similar things about her when he was set to testify in the 2019 trial.
“I don’t know this woman, have no idea who she is, except it looks like she got a picture of me years ago with her husband shaking my hand in a reception line at a celebrity charity event . She completely made up a story that I met her at the doors of this crowded department store in New York City and within minutes ‘passed out’ her,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social.
“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 though I shouldn’t say it, I will. This woman is not my type!” said the post.
Carroll’s 2019 defamation case against Trump has been hanging by a thread. Trump’s lawyers contested the lawsuit, saying the Justice Department should be substituted as the defendants when Trump, as president, answered reporters’ questions about Carroll’s allegations. The Ministry 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 fell within the scope of his employment.
The D.C. Court of Appeals has expedited the case and may rule 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 since 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 action into one lawsuit early next year. The judge said he would weigh in next week.