June 28, 2023 : Former President Donald J. Trump, who has been found liable for sexually abusing and defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll, has countersued, accusing her of defaming him in turn by repeating her contention that he had raped her.
Last month, a federal jury of six men and three women found that Ms. Carroll, 79, a former magazine columnist, had proved that Mr. Trump sexually abused her nearly 30 years ago in a dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan. The jury did not, however, find he had raped her, as she had long claimed.
During a CNN interview on May 10, one day after the verdict in that civil trial, Ms. Carroll was asked about the jury’s finding that he did not commit rape, which requires proof of penile penetration.
“Oh yes he did, oh yes he did,” she said.
Mr. Trump, who is seeking the presidency again, said in court papers filed late Tuesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan that Ms. Carroll was wrong to repeat that contention after the jury’s decision that he had sexually abused her, a lesser form of misconduct.
Mr. Trump said the interview shown on television and other platforms sullied his reputation.
Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said in a statement that Mr. Trump argued in the face of reality “that he was exonerated by a jury that found that he sexually abused E. Jean Carroll by forcibly inserting his fingers into her vagina.”
“Trump’s filing is thus nothing more than his latest effort to delay accountability for what a jury has already found to be his defamation of E. Jean Carroll,” she said. “But whether he likes it or not, that accountability is coming very soon.”
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The former president’s case is part of a yearslong fight that is set to stretch into next year.
Ms. Carroll, who had been a fixture in Manhattan media circles, first drew Mr. Trump’s enmity in June 2019 after she went public with her accusation that he attacked her in the mid-1990s. Mr. Trump called her allegation “totally false” and said she was not his “type.” Ms. Carroll sued Mr. Trump for defamation for those comments in a case that is now scheduled for trial in January, after being stalled in appeals after Mr. Trump argued his comments were part of his official role as president.
The verdict last month stemmed from a separate lawsuit, filed in 2022 under a New York law that allows adults a one-year window to sue long-ago sexual abusers. The jury found Mr. Trump liable for sexually abusing Ms. Carroll, rather than raping her, and awarded her $2 million for that misconduct, plus $20,000 in punitive damages. It also gave her $2.7 million for defamation, thanks to his repeated attacks on her truthfulness after he had left office, along with $280,000 in punitive damages.