NEW YORK (AP) – A writer who accused former President Donald Trump of rape filed an upgraded lawsuit against him Thursday in New York, moments after a new state law went into effect that allows victims of sexual violence to sue carry out attacks that happened decades ago.
E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer filed the legal papers electronically as the Elderly Survivors Act the state’s usual targets for suing for sexual assault have been temporarily successful. She sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for pain and suffering, psychological harm, loss of dignity and damage to reputation.
Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, first made the claim in a 2019 book, saying Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Manhattan luxury department store in 1995 or 1996.
Trump responded to the book’s allegations by saying it could never happen because Carroll was not “my type.”
His comments led Carroll to file a defamation lawsuit against him, but that law is tied up in the appeals courts as judges decide whether he is protected from legal claims for comments made while he was president.
Previously, Carroll was barred by state law from suing over the alleged rape because too many years had passed since the incident.
New York’s new law, however, gives sex crime victims who missed statute of limitations deadlines a second chance to file a lawsuit. A window for such suits will be open for one year, after which the normal time limits will be restored.
At least hundreds of lawsuits are expectedincluding many filed by women who say they were assaulted by co-workers, prison guards, medical providers or others.
In her new claim, Carroll contends that Trump committed battery “when he forcibly raped and groped her” and defamed her when he denied raping her last month.
Trump said in his statement that Carroll “totally made up a story that I met her at the doors of this Crowded Store in New York City and, within minutes, ‘swooned’ her.” It’s a Hoax and a lie, just like all the other Hoaxes that have been played on me for the past seven years.”
Carroll’s new ability to sue Trump for rape could help her avoid a potentially fatal legal flaw in her original defamation case.
If the courts ultimately decide that Trump’s original disparaging comments about Carroll’s alleged rape were part of his job duties, as president, she would be barred from suing him over those remarks, as federal employees are protected from defamation claims. No such defense would cover things he did before he became president.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is presiding over Carroll’s defamation lawsuit filed three years ago, may decide to include the new claims in a trial likely this spring.
Trump’s current lawyers said this week they don’t yet know whether they will represent him against the new allegations.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, said at a court hearing this week that the new claims should not require much additional evidence. She already put a copy of the new claims in the original file last week. Trump and Carroll have already been deposited as well.
In a statement regarding the new lawsuit, Kaplan said her client “intends to hold Donald Trump accountable not only for defaming her, but also for sexually assaulting her, which he did years ago in a room furnishings at Bergdorf Goodman.”
“Thanksgiving was the first day Ms. Carroll could file under New York law so our complaint was filed with the court shortly after midnight,” she said.
Attorney Michael Madaio, a lawyer for Trump, said at the hearing that the new allegations differ significantly from the original defamation law and would require a “whole new set” of evidence gathering.
A lawyer for Trump did not respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday. Another message seeking comment was sent to the lawyer after the lawsuit was filed less than 10 minutes into the new day.