NEW YORK (AP) — A writer who accused former President Donald Trump of rape filed an enhanced lawsuit against him Thursday in New York, minutes after a new state law went into effect that allows victims of sexual violence to sue for attacks that happened decades ago.
E. Jean Carroll’s attorney filed the legal documents electronically as the Adult Survivors Act temporarily lifted the state’s usual timelines for suing for sexual assault. He sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for pain and suffering, psychological damage, loss of dignity, and damage to reputation.
Carroll, a longtime Elle magazine advice columnist, first made the claim in a 2019 book, saying that Trump raped her in the dressing room of an upscale Manhattan department store in 1995 or 1996.
Trump responded to the book’s allegations by saying it could never have happened because Carroll «wasn’t my type.»
His comments prompted Carroll to file a defamation lawsuit against him, but that lawsuit has been tied up in appeals courts as judges decide whether he is protected from legal claims for comments made while he was president.
Previously, state law had barred Carroll from suing over 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 the deadlines associated with the statute of limitations a second chance to file a lawsuit. A window for such claims will be open for one year, after which the usual deadlines will be reinstated.
At least hundreds of lawsuits are expected, including many by women who say they have been assaulted by co-workers, prison guards, medical providers or others.
Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump, said in an email Thursday: «While I respect and admire the people who come forward, unfortunately this case is an abuse of the purpose of this law that creates a terrible precedent and risks delegitimizing credibility. of real victims.
In her new complaints, Carroll maintains that Trump committed assault «when he raped and forcibly groped her» and that he defamed her when he denied raping her last month.
Trump said in his statement that Carroll “completely fabricated the story that I met her outside this crowded New York City department store and, within minutes, ‘passed out’ on her. It’s a hoax and a lie, just like all the other hoaxes that have been played on me for the past seven years.»
Carroll’s new ability to sue Trump for rape could help her sidestep a potentially fatal legal flaw in her original defamation case.
If the courts ultimately hold that Trump’s original derogatory comments about Carroll’s rape accusation were part of his job duties, as president, she would not be able to sue him over those comments, since federal employees are protected from defamation lawsuits. That protection would not cover the things he did before he became president.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is presiding over the defamation lawsuit Carroll filed three years ago, may decide to include the new allegations in a trial likely to take place in the spring.
Trump’s current lawyers said this week they don’t yet know if they will represent him against the new allegations.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, said at a court hearing this week that the new claims should not require much additional evidence. She already put a copy of the new claims in the original case file last week. Trump and Carroll have also already been deposed.
In a statement about the new lawsuit, Kaplan said her client «intends to hold Donald Trump accountable for not only defaming her, but also for sexually assaulting her, which he did years ago in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman.»
“Thanksgiving Day was the first day that Ms. Carroll could file a lawsuit under New York law, so our complaint was filed with the court shortly after midnight,” he added.
Attorney Michael Madaio, a lawyer for Trump, told the hearing that the new allegations are significantly different from the original defamation lawsuit and would require «a whole new set» of evidence gathering.