Writer Who Says Trump Raped Her Plans to Use New Law to Prove It
In May, New York passed a law giving adult sexual assault victims a one-time opportunity to file civil lawsuits, even if the statutes of limitations have long expired.
Now, a writer who says former President Donald J. Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s plans to use the law to sue Mr. Trump, according to court papers made public on Tuesday.
The writer, E. Jean Carroll, had already sued Mr. Trump in 2019 for defamation, claiming that he had harmed her reputation when he branded her a liar and denied having attacked her.
She plans to file her new case against Mr. Trump on Nov. 24, the start of a one-year window in which the law allows such suits to be filed, Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, wrote in a letter to the federal judge overseeing the defamation lawsuit.
Ms. Kaplan said in the letter that she plans to ask Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York to have the two cases tried together on Feb. 6, when Ms. Carroll’s defamation lawsuit was scheduled for trial.
Alina Habba, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, responded in a letter to Judge Kaplan that granting Ms. Carroll’s request would be “extraordinarily prejudicial” to Mr. Trump and violate his rights.
The letters from Ms. Kaplan and Ms. Habba were dated in August and had not previously been filed publicly by the court.
Ms. Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, wrote in a 2019 book and in an article published in New York magazine about the assault that she accused Mr. Trump of committing.
In the magazine, Ms. Carroll said that Mr. Trump had thrown her against a dressing room wall at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in the mid 1990s. Mr. Trump then pulled down her tights, opened his pants and forced himself on her, she claimed.
After Ms. Carroll’s allegation was published, Mr. Trump said that she was “totally lying,” that the assault had never occurred and that he could not have raped her because she was not his “type.”
“She is trying to sell a new book,” he said in a statement. “It should be sold in the fiction section.”
Ms. Carroll originally filed her defamation lawsuit in state court, but in September 2020 the Justice Department, at the request of the White House, took over Mr. Trump’s defense from his private lawyers and moved the case into federal court.
The department, then led by Attorney General William P. Barr, argued that Mr. Trump could not be sued for defamation, citing a law designed to protect federal employees against litigation stemming from the performance of their duties.
Judge Kaplan, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, ruled against the government, finding that Mr. Trump had not been acting in his official capacity when he denied Ms. Carroll’s allegation.
“His comments concerned an alleged sexual assault that took place several decades before he took office, and the allegations have no relationship to the official business of the United States,” Judge Kaplan wrote.
The Justice Department appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, where it is still pending.
Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Ms. Kaplan, in her letter to the judge made public on Tuesday, also said that she now expects to seek Mr. Trump’s deposition, which she earlier had said would not be necessary.
Ms. Kaplan wrote that Mr. Trump and his lawyers had “barely participated” in the process known as pretrial discovery, in which the parties turn over documents and answer questions, known as interrogatories.
Ms. Kaplan wrote that her earlier statement that Mr. Trump’s deposition would not be needed had been based on the expectation that the documents and interrogatory responses would be sufficient “to elucidate defendant’s defenses in this case.”
“But a deposition now appears to be the only way to do so,” Ms. Kaplan wrote.
Ms. Habba, in her response, said that Ms. Kaplan’s letter “contains numerous misstatements which are seemingly intended to make it appear as if defendant is not complying with his discovery obligations.”
“This is simply not the case,” Ms. Habba added.
Ms. Habba did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday evening; Ms. Kaplan declined to comment.