Rape Accuser Challenges Trump to Let Defamation Suit Proceed
(Bloomberg) -- A New York advice columnist who claims Donald Trump raped her two decades ago asked a federal judge to deny the former president’s request to file a counterclaim against her, calling it another “procedural gimmick” that comes too late.
E. Jean Carroll went public with her claim in 2019 and sued Trump for defamation when he called her a liar. Trump is now trying to stall the case by alleging the suit violates a New York statute against filing lawsuits in bad faith, Carroll said in a court brief Wednesday in Manhattan.
“If Trump truly wanted to prove that he did not rape Carroll years ago -- and that he did not defame her when she came forward to reveal his attack -- he would not persist in these meritless gambits,” her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said in the filing. He should “welcome a trial where the world can learn the truth,” Kaplan said.
The case is proceeding even as a federal appeals court weighs whether Trump is protected from the litigation by a statute that bars lawsuits against government employees for actions related to their duties. Trump argues his denial of Carroll’s rape claim qualified as an official duty, a stance the Biden administration backed in a twist after Trump left office.
Carroll argues Trump should move ahead with the exchange of evidence in the case, including sitting for a deposition and providing a DNA sample.
“Contrary to Ms. Carroll’s mischaracterization, this motion is timely and well founded in law,” Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, said in an email.
Habba, recently hired by Trump, has also argued that sitting presidents must be allowed to publicly defend themselves without over-thinking every statement.
Trump on Dec. 1 asked U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan for permission to amend his formal response to Carroll’s complaint to include a counterclaim that she violated New York’s Anti Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation statute, known as an anti-SLAPP law, which seeks to prevent the filing of lawsuits intended to chill free speech.
Trump argues that a November 2020 amendment to New York’s law bolsters his case. Carroll says he waited too long to raise the issue.
“Trump has slow-rolled his defenses, asserting or inventing a new one each time his prior effort to delay the case fails,” Carroll said in the filing.
The case is Carroll v. Trump, 20-cv-07311, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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