Photo: The Canadian Press
A writer who accused former President Donald Trump of rape filed an enhanced lawsuit against him in New York on Thursday, minutes after a new state law went into effect allowing victims of sexual assault to sue for attacks that occurred decades ago.
E. Jean Carroll’s attorney filed the legal documents electronically, as the Adult Survivor’s Act temporarily removed the state’s usual deadlines for a sexual assault charge. She sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for pain and suffering, psychological harm, loss of dignity and reputational damage.
Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, first made the claim in a 2019 book, saying Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Manhattan luxury department store in 1995 or 1996.
Trump responded to the book’s allegations by saying it could never have happened because Carroll was “not my type”.
His comments prompted Carroll to file a libel lawsuit against him, but that lawsuit has stalled in appeals courts as judges decide whether he will be protected from legal claims for comments made while he was president.
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.
In her new allegations, Carroll claims Trump committed battery “when he violently raped and groped her” and slandered her when he denied raping her last month.
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’s a hoax and a lie, just like all the other hoaxes that have been played out with me over 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 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 is presiding over the defamation lawsuit brought by Carroll three years ago, may decide to include the new claims in a trial likely to take place in the spring.
Trump’s current lawyers said this week that they are not yet sure whether they will represent him against the new charges.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, said at a hearing this week that the new claims don’t require much additional evidence. She already put a copy of the new claims in the original file last week. Trump and Carroll have also been impeached.
In a statement about the new lawsuit, Kaplan said her client “intends to hold Donald Trump responsible not only for defaming her, but also for sexually assaulting her, which he did years ago in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman. “
“Thanksgiving Day was the very first day Ms. Carroll could file a complaint under New York law, so our complaint was filed in court shortly after midnight,” she added.
Attorney Michael Madaio, a Trump attorney, said at the hearing that the new allegations differ significantly from the original defamation lawsuit and that “an entirely new set” of evidence is needed.
A Trump lawyer did not respond to a message asking for comment on Wednesday. Another message requesting comment was sent to the attorney after the lawsuit was filed less than 10 minutes into the new day.