Attorneys for Donald Trump are trying to block a long-delayed defamation lawsuit against writer E. Jean Carroll by using her successful $5 million judgment in another case she won against the former president.
The Manhattan federal court filing argues that Trump could not defame Carroll by denying her rape allegation in the pending case because a jury in the other case found him liable for sexually assaulting her, but not for rape.
The “important question in this case is, and always has been, whether a rape occurred in Bergdorf Goodman’s locker room,” the filing said, and the jury “found that there was not.”
- Advertisement -
Carroll alleges that Trump raped her in the Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s. She filed suit for impeachment and defamation over the rape allegation and Trump’s post-presidency comments last year calling her allegations a “swindler.”
After a trial that featured live testimony from Carroll and videotaped testimony from Trump, a jury last month awarded Carroll $2 million for the battery claim and $3 million for her defamation claim.
The battery claim included several elements, including one for rape and one for sexual assault. Asked on his verdict whether Carroll, 79, had proven “by a preponderance of the evidence” that “Mr. Trump raped Ms. Carroll,” the nine-member jury checked the box marked “no.” Asked if Carroll had proven that “ Mr. Trump sexually assaulted Ms. Carroll,” the jury ticked the box that said “yes.”
Jurors did not speak to reporters after the verdict to explain their decision. Carroll had testified that she was attacked from behind and did not see Trump enter her.
The case that went to trial was Carroll’s second lawsuit against Trump.
- Advertisement -
The first alleged then-President Trump defamed Carroll by calling her claims a “hoax” and a “scam” when she went public in 2019.
That case — now identified in court documents as Carroll I — was deadlocked in a Washington, D.C., federal appeals court over whether Trump was immune from liability because he was president at the time of the comments. The case was returned to U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan in April — the same judge who presided over Carroll II.
In a filing last month, Carroll’s lawyers sought to amend the earlier lawsuit to add a new defamation claim after Trump dismissed her as a “crazy job” during a post-verdict CNN town hall meeting last month.
- Advertisement -
The proposed amended lawsuit also changed the mention of “rape” to sexual assault or assault. Trump’s filing notes removed the amended indictment from 71 uses of the word rape.
Trump attorney Alina Habba said in a statement that Carroll tried to make her lawsuit “retrofitable” “while blatantly ignoring the part that undermines the viability of her claim.”
Faced with the Carroll II jury’s rejection of her rape allegation, Ms. Carroll now seeks to remove nearly every reference to the word ‘rape’ in her complaint and to reiterate the story she has told the public for years. let it go,” said Habba.
The Trump filing also urges the judge not to allow Carroll to add defamation claims coming from CNN City Hall where he called Carroll a “crazy job” he had never met.
The filing stated that Trump “neither denied nor misrepresented the jury’s verdict” at City Hall “but only expressed disagreement with the finding and reiterated his position — which he had maintained throughout the proceedings — that the alleged event never occurred.”
Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan disputed Trump’s claim that the earlier verdict hurt her case.
“Contrary to Donald Trump’s final arguments, the jury’s verdict makes perfect sense — because the jury believed E. Jean Carroll when she testified that Trump had sexually assaulted her, it concluded that Trump knowingly lied about Ms. Carroll when he later claimed the opposite,” Kaplan said.