NEW YORK, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Donald Trump was sued for defamation for the second time on Thursday by an author who accused the former US president of lying by denying that he raped her 27 years ago.
In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll also accused Trump of violence during an alleged meeting at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan.
Carroll, 78, filed the battery claim under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, a new law that gives victims of sexual assault a year to sue their alleged abusers, even if the abuse happened long ago and the statute of limitations has expired.
Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, was the first day prosecutors could file charges.
Trump, 76, has denied raping Carroll or knowing her at the time, saying she was “not my type”.
His initial rejection in June 2019 prompted her to sue for defamation five months later.
He repeated the denial in an Oct. 12 post on his Truth Social account, calling Carroll’s claim a “hoax” and “lie,” prompting the new defamation claim.
Both sides await appeals court rulings addressing Trump’s argument that he was legally immune from Carroll’s first lawsuit because he had spoken in his capacity as president.
If the courts agreed that the US government, which has sovereign immunity from defamation claims, could substitute Trump as a defendant, Carroll’s first lawsuit would fail.
That would likely not affect her second trial because Trump is a private citizen after leaving the White House in January 2021.
Carroll is seeking unspecified damages. To support her battery claim, she said Trump caused her permanent psychological harm and made her unable to maintain a romantic relationship.
The first trial is scheduled for trial on February 6, 2023 before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, but is likely to be delayed due to the appeals process.
At a hearing Tuesday, Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan asked for an April 10 trial covering both lawsuits, saying they have significant overlap.
Trump’s attorney Alina Habba sought a May 8 trial for the first trial only. She also told the judge that a longer delay made sense because Trump had not hired a lawyer for the second trial.
“Your client in this case, Mrs. Habba, has known this was coming for months and he would be wise to decide who represents him in it,” the judge replied.
Judge Kaplan said he may decide early next week how to schedule both trials.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Howard Goller and Nick Zieminski
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