An author who accused former President Donald Trump of rape filed an upgraded lawsuit against him Thursday in New York, minutes after a new state law went into effect that allows victims of sexual assault to sue over assaults that occurred decades ago.
E. Jean Carroll’s attorney filed the legal documents online as the Adult Survivors Act temporarily waives the state’s usual deadlines for filing a sexual assault lawsuit. He sought unspecified damages and punitive damages for pain and suffering, psychological harm, loss of dignity and damage to reputation.
Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, first made the allegation in a 2019 book, saying Trump raped her in the dressing room of an upscale Manhattan department store in 1995 or 1996.
Trump responded to the book’s claims by saying it could never happen because Carroll “wasn’t my type.”
His remarks led Carroll to file a defamation lawsuit against him, but that lawsuit has been tied up in the appeals courts as judges decide whether he is protected from legal claims for comments made while he was president.
Carroll had previously been barred by state law from suing over the alleged rape because too many years had passed since the incident.
New York’s new law, however, gives sex crime victims who missed statutes of limitations a second chance to file a lawsuit. A window for such suits will be open for one year, after which normal time limits will be restored.
At least hundreds of lawsuits are expected, including many from women who say they were assaulted by co-workers, prison guards, doctors or others.
In her new allegations, Carroll claims that Trump committed misconduct “when he raped and sexually assaulted her” and that he defamed her when he denied raping her last month.
Trump said in his statement that Carroll “made up a story that I met her at the doors of this busy New York department store and, within minutes, I ‘dismissed’ her.” It’s a Hoax and a lie, 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 overcome a potentially fatal legal flaw in her original defamation case.
If the courts ultimately rule that Trump’s initial disparaging comments about Carroll’s rape allegation were part of his job duties, as president, he would be barred from suing him for those comments, as federal employees are protected from defamation claims. No such protection would cover things he did before he became president.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is presiding over the defamation suit filed by Carroll three years ago, may decide to include the new claims in a trial that may take place in the spring.
Trump’s current lawyers said this week they don’t yet know whether 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 gathering. He already filed a copy of the new claims in the original case file last week. Trump and Carroll have already been impeached.
In a statement about the new lawsuit, Kaplan said her client “intends to hold Donald Trump accountable not only for defaming her, but also for sexually assaulting her, which he did years ago in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman”.
“Thanksgiving was the first day Ms. Carroll could file under New York law, so our complaint was filed in court shortly after midnight,” he added.
Attorney Michael Madaio, Trump’s lawyer, said at the hearing that the new allegations are significantly different from the original defamation suit and would require “a whole new set” of gathering evidence.
A lawyer for Trump did not respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday. Another message seeking comment was sent to the attorney after the lawsuit was filed less than 10 minutes into the new day.