E Jean Carroll files fresh defamation lawsuit against Trump under new New York law for adult assault victims

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E Jean Carroll, the writer who accused Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in a New York department store several decades ago, is again pursuing a legal challenge against the former president, accusing him of battery and defamation.

On Thursday, a lawyer representing the 78-year-old former Elle advice columnist said in a court filing that his client would bring a new defamation lawsuit against for the one-term president for statements he made on social media last month that painted Ms Carroll as a liar and accused her case of being “a complete con job”, The New York Times reported.

Ms Carroll’s case against the former president stems from an account that she provided in her 2019 book, which also ran as an excerpt in New York Magazine, where she described being raped by Mr Trump in the mid-1990s while the pair crossed paths inside a dressing room at Bergdof Goodman’s in Manhattan.

By Ms Carroll’s telling, Mr Trump allegedly pinned her against a wall and pulled her tights down before he forced himself on her.

Mr Trump, for his part, has vehemently denied the allegations and maintained his innocence by painting Ms Carroll as a person who is “totally lying” and also an individual who he could not fathom having relations of any kind with because, as he said, she was not his “type.”

After Ms Carroll brought forward her allegations in 2019 and Mr Trump responded by characterising her as a liar, she pursued her first defamation case against the then-president.

Shortly after the case was filed, the Justice Department – then run by Trump-appointed Attorney General William P Barr – intervened, arguing that the case could not move forward because Mr Trump had made the comments while acting as a federal official, which would mean that the case would have to be dismissed.

Now, though the ex-president recently launched his campaign for the White House in 2024, Mr Trump is no longer commander-in-chief and his comments made in October were not made in an official capacity, thus clearing the way for Ms Carroll’s lawyer to file a new defamation case based on his recent remarks that she was a “complete con job”.

Responding to Ms Carroll’s court fillings on Thursday, Mr Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, labelled the filing made by Roberta Kaplan – the attorney representing the write – “typical gamemanship”.

“This filing is completely inappropriate and we will take up this issue with the court,” she said, The New York Times reported.

Folded into the recent defamation lawsuit, which Ms Kaplan requested to be tried simultaneously with the original case stemming from 2019, is also a claim of battery against Mr Trump.

Though the alleged assault took place before the statute of limitations was up, Ms Carroll’s case will be able to test a new state law that allows victims of abuse to file a one-time civil lawsuit against their alleged attackers after the window has closed, called the Adult Survivors Act.

In the Adult Survivors Act, passed last spring and effective as of 24 November, it allows adult victims, who were at least 18 years of age or older at the time of the alleged abuse, to pursue civil lawsuits in New York against their alleged attackers. The act provides a legal avenue for victims of assault who, for one reason or another, failed to pursue those charges before the window for the statutes of limitations ran out.

In New York, the statute of limitations for reporting second-degree rape is 20 years and third-degree rape is 10 years, though before 2019, both were five years.

Ms Kaplan has requested a trial start date of 10 April and the new lawsuit will be filed on 24 November, when the Adult Survivors Act will allow lawsuits to be brought forward. The lawsuit will be filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan next week.

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