A U.S. judge has rejected as “absurd” former US President Donald Trump’s effort to dismiss writer E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit accusing him of defamation and battery after he denied raping her in the mid-1990s.
The lawsuit is one of two in which Carroll accuses Trump of defamation when he denied raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in late 1995 or early 1996.
Carroll first sued Trump after he denied the accusation in June 2019, telling a reporter at the White House that he did not know Carroll, that “she’s not my type,” and that she manufactured the claim to sell her new memoir.
The second lawsuit arose from an October 2022 social media post where Trump called the rape claim a “hoax,” “lie,” “con job” and “complete scam,” and said “this can only happen to ‘Trump’!”
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan on Friday, January 13 said there was no merit to Trump’s argument that Carroll’s battery claim under New York’s Adult Survivors Act must be dismissed because the law denied him due process under the state’s constitution.
The judge also said New York state law did not require Carroll, to prove that she suffered an economic loss from Trump’s comments, as Trump had argued.
Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump, said “we are disappointed with the court’s decision” and planned an immediate appeal.
Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said “we are pleased though not surprised” at the decision.
Judge Kaplan said Trump was “demonstrably incorrect” to claim that the law was unconstitutional because lawmakers did not sufficiently explain why it was needed.
The judge added that lawmakers passed the law to help sexual abuse victims who might have suppressed memories of their attacks, or like Carroll were deterred from suing out of fear.
“To suggest that the ASA violates the state due process clause because the legislature supposedly did not describe that injustice to the defendant’s entire satisfaction in a particular paragraph of a particular type of legislative document – itself a dubious premise – is absurd,” Judge Kaplan wrote.
As Trump prepares for the 2024 presidential election, he and Carroll are awaiting a decision from a Washington, D.C., appeals court on whether, under local law, Trump should be immune from Carroll’s first lawsuit over his June 2019 comments.