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 report sexual assault to file claims years after the assault.
Carroll filed the lawsuit Thursday, citing the first day civil lawsuits can be filed under the new law, the Adult Survivors Act, which gives adults a year to file a claim.
The lawsuit is the second that Carroll has brought against Trump, but it is the first for the battery that Carroll allegedly raped 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 to award punitive and exemplary damages in an amount to be determined at trial.
“Trump’s sexual assaults seriously injured Carroll, causing significant pain and suffering, permanent psychological harm, loss of dignity, and invasion of her privacy. His latest defamatory statements have only added to the harm Carroll has already suffered,” the lawsuit alleges.
At a court hearing in the previous case, Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba told Judge Lewis Kaplan that they had not yet represented Trump in the Adult Survivors’ Act case.
Kaplan stated that Trump knew this case “was going to come for months and it would be a good idea to decide who represents him there.”
In 2019, Carroll sued Trump for defamation after he denied her sexual assault allegations, saying he never met Carroll, that he wasn’t his type and that he made up the story to boost sales of his new book.
In Thursday’s lawsuit, Carroll reiterated those earlier statements and added another from October 2022, when Trump said similar things about her when he was about to sit for a deposition related to the 2019 lawsuit.
“I don’t know this woman, I don’t know who she is, she seems to have taken a picture of me, with my husband, holding hands in a reception line at a famous charity event many years ago. He completely made up a story that I met him at the doors of this crowded New York department store and within minutes I was ‘blown away,’” Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social.
“It’s a scam and a lie, like all the other scams that have been played on me in the last seven years. And, as long as I don’t have to say it, I will. This woman is not my type!” the message said.
Habba responded on Thursday: “While I respect and admire the people involved, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the intent of this Act, and it sets a terrible precedent that risks discrediting the real victims.”
Carroll’s 2019 defamation suit against Trump has been pending. Trump’s lawyers contested the case, saying the Justice Department should be substituted for the defendants because Trump was answering reporters’ questions about Carroll’s allegations as president. The Department of Justice agreed.
Kaplan ruled in favor of Carroll, 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 determine whether the statements fell within the scope of his employment.
The D.C. appeals court has fast-tracked the case and could 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 2022 defamation claims would not be affected when Trump made new statements last month that he was not a federal employee.
Carroll’s attorneys asked Kaplan to combine the 2019 and 2022 actions into a trial early next year. The judge said that he will be weighed next week.