Former E. magazine columnist Jean Carroll has sued former President Donald Trump for assault and defamation under a new New York law that allows adults alleging sexual assault to file charges years after the offensive.
Carroll filed the lawsuit on Thursday, the first day civil suits can be brought under the new law, the Adult Survivors Act, which gives adults a one-year window to file a claim.
The lawsuit is the second Carroll has filed against Trump, but the first to seek to hold him liable for assault and battery for allegedly raping Carroll in the dressing room of a New York City department store in the mid-1990s. The lawsuit alleges also a new libel suit based on statements made by Trump 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 gravely injured Carroll, causing significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological damage, loss of dignity and invasion of his privacy. His recent defamatory statement only add to the harm Carroll had already suffered,” the lawsuit alleges.
During a Tuesday hearing for the previous trial, Trump’s attorney Alina Habba told Judge Lewis Kaplan that she had not yet been shortlisted to represent Trump in the Adult Surviving Act trial.
Kaplan noted that Trump knew this lawsuit “has been coming for months and he would be well advised to decide who would represent him.”
In 2019, Carroll sued Trump for defamation after he denied his sexual assault allegations, said he had never met Carroll, she was not his type and made up the story to increase sales of his new book.
In Thursday’s trial, Carroll took those previous statements and added a new one, from October 2022, when Trump said similar things about him when he was about to sit for a related deposition. at the 2019 trial.
“I don’t know this woman, I have no idea who she is, other than she looks like she took a picture of me many years ago, with her husband, shaking my hand on a line of reception at a celebrity charity event. She completely made up a story that I met her at the gates of that crowded department store in New York and within minutes ‘passed out’ to her,” said Trump on his Truth Social social media platform.
“It’s a hoax and a lie, like all the other hoaxes that have been played to me over the past seven years. And, even if I’m not supposed to say it, I will. This woman is not my kind!” says the post.
Habba responded to the filing on Thursday saying, “While I respect and admire people who come forward, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this law which sets a terrible precedent that risks delegitimizing the credibility of actual victims.”
Carroll’s 2019 libel lawsuit against Trump is pending. Trump’s attorneys contested the lawsuit, saying the Justice Department should be replaced as a defendant since Trump, as president, was fielding questions from reporters about Carroll’s allegations. The Department of Justice agreed.
Kaplan ruled in favor of Carroll, but Trump and the Justice Department appealed. A New York federal appeals court ruled that Trump was a federal employee at the time, but asked a Washington, DC appeals court to determine whether the statements were within the scope of his employment.
The DC Court of Appeals has expedited the case and could decide early next year. If the court rules against Carroll, the case will likely be dismissed because the federal government cannot be sued for libel.
If the 2019 case is dismissed, the 2022 defamation claims would not be affected since Trump was not a federal employee last month when he made the new claims.
Carroll’s attorneys previously asked Kaplan to combine the 2019 and 2022 actions into a single trial early next year. The judge said he would weigh himself next week.