A writer who accused former US President Donald Trump of rape has filed a second lawsuit against him minutes after a new New York state law went into effect allowing victims of sexual assault to sue for assaults that occurred decades ago.
E Jean Carroll’s complaint, filed in a federal court in New York City, accuses Trump of assault, “when he violently raped and groped her” and defamation, citing an October post on his Truth Social platform in which he denied the alleged rape.
Carroll sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for pain and suffering, psychological harm, loss of dignity and damage to her reputation.
Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, had first made the claim of sexual assault in a 2019 book, saying Trump raped her in the dressing room of a luxury department store in Manhattan in 1995 or 1996.
She 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 a long time ago and statutes of limitations have expired.
Thursday, November 24 — Thanksgiving Day and a national holiday in the United States — was the first day prosecutors could indict. Her lawyer filed the legal documents electronically in the early hours of the day.
Trump has denied raping Carroll or knowing her at the time, saying she was “not my type”.
His first denial in June 2019 led her to it sue for libel five months later, but that lawsuit has stalled in appeals courts as judges decide whether to protect Trump from legal claims for comments made while he was president.
He reiterated the denial in an Oct. 12 post on his Truth Social account, calling Carroll’s claim a “Hoax” and “lie,” leading to the new defamation claim.
Trump said in his statement that Carroll “completely made up a story that I met her at the doors of this busy New York City department store and ‘swooned’ her in minutes. It is a hoax and a lie, just like all the other hoaxes that have been played out with me over the past seven years.”
Both sides are awaiting appeals court decisions addressing Trump’s argument that he had immunity as president.
Carroll’s new suit sidesteps that issue, because Trump was no longer a sitting president in October.
If the courts ultimately rule that Trump’s original disparaging remarks about Carroll’s rape allegation were part of his duties as president, she would not be able to prosecute him over those remarks since federal employees are protected from defamation claims. Such protections do not cover the things he did before he became president.
Judge Lewis A Kaplan, who presides over the libel lawsuit brought by Carroll three years ago, may decide to include the new claims in a trial likely to take place in the spring.
The first trial was scheduled for February 6, 2023, before Kaplan in Manhattan, but will likely be postponed due to the appeals process.
At a hearing Tuesday, Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, had called for an April 10 trial for both lawsuits, saying they overlap significantly.
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, has filed for trial only for the first trial on May 8. She also told the judge that a longer delay made sense because Trump had not hired an attorney for the second trial.
“Your client in the current case, Ms. Habba, has known for months that this was coming, and he would do well to decide who represents him in it,” the judge replied.
Judge Kaplan said he could decide how to schedule both trials early next week.
Earlier, Carroll had been barred by state law from suing for the alleged rape because too many years had passed since the incident.
However, New York’s new law gives victims of sex crimes who missed statute-barred deadlines a second chance to file a lawsuit. A window will be opened for such suits for one year, after which the usual time limits will be restored.
At least hundreds of lawsuits are expected, many of them filed by women who say they have been assaulted by co-workers, prison guards, medical providers or others.