NEW YORK, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Donald Trump was sued for defamation for the second time on Thursday by a writer who accused the former US president of falsely denying that he raped her 27 years ago.
In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll also accused Trump of battery when he was allegedly at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan.
Carroll, 78, brought the battery claim under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, a new law that gives sexual assault victims a one-year window to sue their alleged abusers, even if the abuse happened long ago. and that statutes of limitations have expired.
Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, was the first day that accusers could sue.
Trump, 76, denied that he raped Carroll or knew her at the time, and said she was “not my type.”
Her first denial in June 2019 prompted her to sue for defamation five months later.
He repeated the denial in an Oct. 12 post on his Truth Social account, calling Carroll’s claim a “hoax” and a “lie,” prompting the new defamation claim.
Both sides are awaiting appeals court decisions addressing Trump’s argument that he was legally immune from Carroll’s first lawsuit because he spoke in his capacity as president.
If courts agreed that the US government, which has sovereign immunity from defamation claims, could replace Trump as a defendant, Carroll’s first lawsuit would fail.
That likely wouldn’t affect his second lawsuit because Trump is a private citizen, after he leaves the White House in January 2021.
Carroll is seeking unspecified damages. In support of her battery claim, she said that Trump had caused her permanent psychological damage, and left her unable to maintain a romantic relationship.
The lawsuit is first set to go to trial on February 6, 2023, before US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, but is likely to be delayed by the appeals process.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, requested an April 10 trial that would cover both lawsuits, saying they have substantial overlap.
Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, has requested a trial on May 8 for the first lawsuit only. She also told the judge that a longer delay made sense because Trump had not hired a lawyer for the second lawsuit.
“Your client in this action, Ms. Habba, has known this was coming for months, and he would be well advised to decide who is representing him,” the judge responded.
Judge Kaplan said he could decide as early as next week how to schedule the two lawsuits.
Reporting by Jonathan Templel in New York; Editing by Howard Goller and Nick Zieminski
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