Writer who accused Trump of 1990s rape files new lawsuit

NEW YORK (AP) — A writer who has accused former President Donald Trump of rape filed an expanded lawsuit against him in New York on Thursday, minutes after a new state law allowing victims of sexual violence went into effect to sue for attacks decades ago.

E. Jean Carroll’s attorney filed the legal documents electronically because the Adult Survivor’s Act temporarily waived the state’s standard time limits for sexual assault claims. She sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for personal injury, 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 have happened because Carroll was “not my type.”

His comments prompted Carroll to file a defamation lawsuit against him, but that lawsuit has been heard in appeals courts as judges decide whether he is protected from legal claims for comments made during his tenure as president.

Previously, under state law, Carroll was barred from filing a complaint about the alleged rape because too many years had passed since the incident.

However, the new New York law gives victims of sex crimes who have missed deadlines related to statutes of limitations a second chance to file a lawsuit. A window for such lawsuits will be opened for one year, after which the usual time limits will be reintroduced.

At least hundreds of lawsuits are expected, including many from women who say they were assaulted by colleagues, prison guards, medical providers or others.

In her new allegations, Carroll alleges that Trump committed bodily harm “when he violently raped and fondled her” and that he defamed her when he denied raping her last month.

Trump said in his statement that Carroll “completely made up a story that I met her at the doors of this crowded department store in New York City and ‘passed out’ within minutes. It is a hoax and a lie, just like every other hoax that has been played to me in the past seven years.”

Carroll’s new ability to sue Trump for rape could help her avoid a potentially fatal legal error in her original defamation case.

If the courts ultimately rule that Trump’s original derogatory statements about Carroll’s rape allegation were part of his professional duties as president, she would be barred from suing him over those statements because federal employees are protected from claims of defamation. No such protection would cover things he did before he became president.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is presiding over the defamation lawsuit that Carroll filed three years ago, may decide to include the new claims in a trial expected to take place in the spring.

Trump’s current lawyers said this week they don’t know if 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 allegations should not require much additional evidence gathering. She already placed a copy of the new claims in the original file last week. Trump and Carroll have also been deposed.

In a statement on the new lawsuit, Kaplan said her client “intends to hold Donald Trump accountable not only for libeling her, but also for sexually assaulting her, which he did years ago in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman.”

“Thanksgiving Day was the first-ever day that Ms. Carroll could sue under New York law, so our complaint was filed with the court just after midnight,” she added.

Attorney Michael Madaio, an attorney for Trump, said at the hearing that the new allegations differ significantly from the original defamation lawsuit and would require “an entirely new set” of evidence gathering.

A Trump attorney did not respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday. Another message asking for comment was sent to the lawyer after the lawsuit was filed less than 10 minutes into the new day.