Judge warns Trump he needs to lawyer up days before E Jean Carroll expected to file rape case

So far, statute has barred E Jean Carroll from bringing direct rape allegations in court, but that changes on Thursday

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 23 November 2022 00:56 GMT
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Trump sexual accuser E Jean Carroll is 'sick' of women not being listened to

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A federal judge warned Donald Trump to decide on his lawyers, and fast, ahead of a coming suit from writer E Jean Carroll accusing Mr Trump of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.

The warning came on Tuesday, during a conference in a defamation suit Ms Carroll filed after Mr Trump called the writer’s allegations, first aired in an excerpt of her memoir published in New York magazine, false and an attempt to drum up publicity.

“Your client has known this is coming for months, and he would be well-advised to decide who’s representing him in it,” US district judge Lewis Kaplan told Alina Habba, the former president’s attorney in the defamation case, on Tuesday.

The Independent has contacted Mr Trump for comment.

In 2019, Trump denied the rape allegations.

Speaking to The Hill he said at the time Carroll was “totally lying”. He added: “I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?

“I don’t know anything about her,” he added. “I know nothing about this woman. I know nothing about her. She is – it’s just a terrible thing that people can make statements like that.”

On Thursday, New York state’s Adult Survivors Act goes into effect.

The law allows survivors of sexual abuse to file lawsuits against their abusers after the normal statute of limitations has run out, as is the case in Ms Carroll’s alleged rape.

Ms Carroll’s lawyers have indicated she could hit Mr Trump with six separate claims under the act, including battery and rape in the first degree.

“He pulled down my tights, and it was a fight,” Ms Carroll said of the experience in an interview with CNN. “I fought. It was over very quickly, and it was against my will, 100 per cent. I fought and then I ran away.”

The former Elle columnist has also indicated she might bring yet more defamation claims against Mr Trump, who repeated his denials of the underlying rape allegation in a recent post on Truth Social.

The case has long proved a controversial one.

While in office, Mr Trump claimed he was immune from liability, a position shared by his attorney general Bill Barr, who sought to remove Mr Trump as defendant and substitute the Department of Justice.

The Biden administration maintained that line of argument, and the liability question is still being litigated in federal appeals court.

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