Trump countersues E. Jean Carroll for ‘rape’ defamation

Writer E. Jean Carroll arrives as jury selection is set to begin in the defamation case against former US President Donald Trump brought by Carroll, who accused him of raping her in the 1990s, at the Manhattan Federal Court, New York, April 25, 2023. Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty ImagesDonald Trump, who was found liable by a civil jury last month for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll, filed a countersuit alleging she has defamed the ex-president by continuing to say he raped her in New York in the mid-1990s.”Oh yes he did, oh yes he did,” Caroll said during a CNN interview on May 10, reiterating her allegation that Trump raped her.A day earlier, a jury in U.S. District Court Manhattan awarded Carroll $5 million in damages from Trump.Trump’s new counterclaim hinges on the fact that the jury did not find by a preponderance of the evidence that he raped her, even as it found he sexually abused her during their encounter in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s.Due to Carroll’s “repeated falsehoods and defamatory statements,” Trump “has been the subject of significant harm to his reputation,” wrote Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba in the counterclaim filed Tuesday night.The alleged rape “clearly was not committed, according to the jury verdict,” Habba wrote.But Carroll’s attorneys said that is not true.Carroll’s lawyer, Robbie Kaplan, in a statement said, “Donald Trump again argues, contrary to both logic and fact, that he was exonerated by a jury that found that he sexually abused E Jean Carroll.”Kaplan also said four out of the five statements Trump claimed were defamatory were made outside of New York’s one-year statute of limitations. The fifth, the attorney added, “will not withstand a motion to dismiss.”Kaplan called Trump’s counterclaim “nothing more than his latest effort to delay accountability for what a jury has already found to be his defamation of E Jean Carroll.”Trump’s countersuit is the latest twist in a circuitous, multicourt legal battle over Carroll’s allegation that Trump, 77, sexually assaulted her. Carroll, 79, first went public in a 2019 magazine article with her claim of being raped by Trump, who was president at the time of that allegation.He immediately denied the claim and argued that Carroll was motivated to make up the story by political animus and a desire to increase sales of her then-forthcoming book detailing her account and its effect on her life.Carroll in November 2019 filed a civil lawsuit against Trump, alleging he defamed her with his denials.A trial in that suit, which was stalled for several years over legal arguments about whether Trump can be sued for statements he made as president, is scheduled to begin Jan. 15 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.The trial, if it happens, will occur just as the 2024 Republican presidential primary season is set to begin. Trump, who is seeking the nomination in that race, has consistently led polls among a growing field of GOP candidates.CNBC PoliticsRead more of CNBC’s politics coverage:Carroll separately sued Trump in the same court in late 2022 for battery, related to the alleged rape, and for defaming her with comments he made about her claim last November.That second lawsuit went to trial in April. It ended with jurors on May 9 ordering Trump to pay Carroll $5 million in damages after finding that it was more likely than not that he sexually abused her and defamed her.Trump is appealing that verdict.Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing both cases, this month allowed Carroll to amend her first lawsuit, which is seeking $10 million in damages, to include alleged defamatory statements Trump made about her at a CNN town hall a day after the jury verdict in the first suit. The judge is not related to Carroll’s lawyer.The counterclaim filed by Habba on Tuesday was contained in response to the amended suit and denied Carroll’s substantive allegations.

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