Judge hears writer rape lawsuit against Donald Trump
NEW YORK (AP) — A columnist may proceed with lawsuits alleging she was raped by former President Donald Trump at a department store a quarter of a century ago, a federal judge ruled Friday, upholding a temporary New York state law that adult victims of sexual abuse can sue their abusers.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said lawsuits alleging rape and defamation and seeking unspecified damages by writer E. Jean Carroll could go to trial because Trump’s challenges are unfounded.
“The fact that Mr. Trump denies Ms. Carroll’s allegations does not enter into analysis at this stage of the case,” the Manhattan lawyer wrote. “What, if anything, actually happened must be dealt with further if the complaint stands up to the present application.”
Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said in a statement, “While we are disappointed with the court’s decision, we intend to immediately appeal the order and continue to defend our client’s constitutionally protected rights.”
In the ruling, Kaplan said the Adult Survivor’s Act is similar to the Child Victims Act, another New York state law that temporarily allowed child sexual assault victims to sue their abusers years later.
“Mr. Trump has offered no meritorious reason to dismiss the one-year resuscitation period in the ASA as unreasonable when the nearly identical two-year resuscitation period in the Child Victims Act has been accepted as reasonable by all courts to consider,” Kaplan wrote.
Lawyers for the former president had asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit after Trump said the encounter at an upscale Manhattan department store never took place.
Trump said Carroll first made the claim public in a 2019 book to generate book sales.
Carroll was a longtime columnist for Elle magazine. She initially sued Trump for defamation after he ridiculed her claims that he sexually assaulted her in late 1995 or early 1996 after they happened to meet at the department store, and she agreed to help him choose lingerie for to help a friend.
Trump has repeatedly denied the encounter took place, calling her allegations “a complete hoax” and saying “she’s not my type.”
“No pictures? No surveillance? No video? No reports? No vendors around???” Trump said in one of several statements and interviews. “People should pay dearly for such false accusations.”
Carroll sued Trump for rape in November when the Adult Survivor’s Act went into effect.
Roberta Kaplan, an attorney for Carroll who is not related to the judge, said in an email, “We are pleased but not surprised that Judge Kaplan denied Donald Trump’s motion to dismiss and ruled the constitutionality of New York’s Adult Survivors Act has confirmed. We look forward to the trial in April. ”
Do you need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center website.