Trump’s attempt to dismiss defamation lawsuit from sexual assault accuser shot down by judge

Elizabeth Jean Carroll, long-time advice columnist at Elle, to move forward with case against US president

Samuel Lovett
Friday 10 January 2020 09:38 GMT
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Donald Trump has failed in his attempt to block a journalist’s defamation lawsuit in which she accuses the US president of smearing her name after making rape allegations against him.

A New York judge has ruled that Elizabeth Carroll, a long-time advice columnist at Elle, may move forward with her case after Mr Trump failed to argue that his Washington residency should preclude him from being sued in New York.

Ms Carroll last year accused the president of raping her in a department store dressing room in Manhattan during the mid-1990s.

In a New York magazine piece and a subsequent book, the journalist said the two ran into each other and went to a lingerie department for Mr Trump to pick out a gift for an unidentified woman. She claims he subsequently forced her into a fitting room before carrying out the assault.

The US president dismissed the accusation as “fake news” and said of Ms Carroll that he had “never met this person”.

“I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” he told The Hill newspaper in Washington.

Ms Carroll labelled the comments as “defamatory”, alleging her career suffered in the wake of Mr Trump’s denials. Many readers of her magazine column stopped writing to her for advice, the suit claims. It seeks unspecified damages and a retraction of the president’s statements.

A lawyer for Mr Trump had argued that the alleged defamatory statements were made in Washington, the president’s home since January 2017, meaning he could not be sued in New York.

But Justice Doris Ling-Cohan rejected the motion to dismiss the case and even criticised Mr Trump for failing to provide a supporting statement.

“Although defendant Trump, through his counsel, claims lack of personal jurisdiction, notably, there is not even a tweet, much less an affidavit by Trump in support of his motion,” Ms Ling-Cohan wrote.

Ms Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said: “We are pleased, and unsurprised, that the Court refused to tolerate Donald Trump’s latest attempt to avoid discovery in our client’s case.”

“We look forward to moving ahead in this case and proving that Donald Trump lied when he told the world that he did not rape our client and had not even met her.”

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