E. Jean Carroll sues Trump under New York Adult Survivors Act

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Writer and Columnist E. Jean Carroll is suing former President Donald Trump over allegations of sexual assault in the 1990s, under a New York law that allows sexual assault victims to sue years later.

Carroll’s lawyers filed the lawsuit Thursday, minutes after the Adult Survivors Act went into effect. The law, signed by New York Gov. Cathy Hochul (D) in late May, allows adult sexual assault survivors up to one year to file a lawsuit, regardless of when the alleged violation occurred.

Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, claims Trump raped her in the dressing room of a posh Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s — an allegation Trump denies.

Carroll is suing “to seek compensation for her injuries and to show that even someone as powerful as Trump can be held accountable under the law,” a court filing said Thursday.

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She is suing Trump for battery and defamation and seeking compensatory and punitive damages, saying the alleged sexual assault “caused her significant pain and suffering, permanent psychological harm, loss of dignity and invasion of her privacy.”

A lawsuit was expected. In court documents filed in September as part of a separate defamation lawsuit against Trump, Carroll said she would file a lawsuit against the former president under the Adult Survivors Act “as soon as that statute authorizes us.”

Carroll first detailed the alleged assault in a book in 2019. She could not press charges at that time because the statute of limitations had run out.

Speaking to reporters on June 22, 2019, then-President Trump said magazine writer E. Gene denies Carroll’s claims, saying Trump assaulted him in 1995 or early 1996. (Video: The Washington Post)

Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault by other women, responded to the allegations by saying Carroll was a “total liar” and that the journalist was “not my type.” Carroll later sued Trump for defamation.

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In court documents filed Thursday, Carroll said Trump “raped her by forcing her against the wall of the dressing room and pinning her by the shoulders.” The suit notes that Carroll remained silent about the incident for more than 20 years, out of fear, before deciding it was time to speak out after the #MeToo movement encouraged sexual assault survivors around the world to share their stories.

In a statement about the new lawsuit, Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said the writer “intends to hold Donald Trump liable not only for defamation, but also for sexual assault, which he committed years ago in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room.”

“Thanksgiving Day is the first day Ms. Carroll can file under New York law so our complaint was filed with the court after midnight.”

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Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, dismissed the claims on Thursday.

“While I respect and admire the individuals who are coming forward, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the intent of this act, it sets a terrible precedent and risks delegitimizing the credibility of real victims,” ​​Hubba told The Associated Press.

Carroll’s representatives have sought to merge the defamation lawsuit with Thursday’s new lawsuit under the Adult Survivors Act, though Trump’s legal team has argued the move is prejudicial.

The Adult Survivors Act is modeled after New York’s Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in 2019 and gave survivors of child sexual abuse a similar opportunity to sue their alleged abusers.

An avalanche of lawsuits is expected to be filed under the new law, which supporters say will give survivors a chance to hold their attackers accountable — even if significant time has passed since the alleged incident.

Shayna Jacobs contributed to this report.

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