U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan on Tuesday ruled that writer E. Jean Carroll can pursue a $10 million defamation suit against former President Trump.
Carroll had filed her most recent complaint in Manhattan federal court almost exactly two weeks after a jury awarded her $5 million on May 9 in her initial suit against Trump. She testified that he had raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s and then defamed her, causing her lasting harm.
The jury found Trump civilly liable for both sexual abuse and defamation.
In a CNN televised town hall on May 10, Trump doubled down from his earlier accusations against Carroll, calling the former Elle magazine columnist a “wack job” and saying her civil trial was “rigged.”
He went on to suggest during that broadcast that it was Carroll who had initiated the incident, positing, “What kind of a woman meets somebody and brings them up and within minutes you’re playing hanky panky in a dressing room?”
Carroll’s attorney Robert Kaplan (no relation to the judge) said that Trump’s town hall performance “makes a mockery of the jury verdict and our justice system if he can just keep on repeating the same defamatory statements over and over again.”
On Tuesday Judge Kaplan—who also presided over the original trial—said Carroll could amend that original suit to include the comments Trump made on CNN.
Carroll’s sexual battery claim came under a New York law, the Adult Survivors Act, that gives adults a one-year window, until November 2023, to sue over sexual abuse that occurred so long ago that statutes of limitations have expired.
Carroll disclosed her rape allegations against Trump in a 2019 memoir at the height of the #metoo movement. She testified during the original trial that she’d lost her job as a columnist for Elle magazine and received death threats after publishing her book.
Earlier this month, Trump’s attorneys filed for a new trial and asserted that her renewed lawsuit is an attempt by Carroll to seek “double recovery.”