Former President Trump filed a countersuit Tuesday night against writer E. Jean Carroll, saying she defamed him after a jury found he had sexually abused and defamed her.
In May, a federal jury in New York City awarded Carroll $5 million after she testified that Trump had raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s and then defamed her, causing her lasting harm.
The morning after her May 9th legal victory, Carroll appeared in a number of TV interviews. On CNN she was asked about the verdict, which found that Trump had sexually abused her but had not raped her.
She responded, “Oh, yes he did.”
The legal difference between “rape” and “sexual abuse” appears to be the crux of Trump’s new lawsuit.
“Donald Trump again argues, contrary to both logic and fact, that he was exonerated by a jury that found that he sexually abused E. Jean Carroll,” Carroll attorney Roberta Kaplan said in response to Trump’s new claim.
She added, “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. But whether he likes it or not, that accountability is coming very soon.”
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan (no relation to Carroll’s attorney) ruled in mid-June that Carroll can pursue a $10 million amended defamation suit for remarks Trump made against her during a May 10th televised town hall on CNN.
During that interview, Trump called Carroll a “wack job” and said her civil trial was “rigged.”
He went on to suggest during that broadcast that it was Carroll who 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 sexual battery claim came under a New York law, the Adult Survivors Act, giving adults a one-year window, until November 2023, to sue over sexual abuse that occurred long ago even if 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 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 amended lawsuit is an attempt by Carroll to seek “double recovery.”