Trump was again sued by the writer for defamation and assault, for alleging rape

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former US President Donald Trump announced that he will once again run for president of the United States in the 2024 US presidential election during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, USA November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Donald Trump was sued for a second time for defamation on Thursday by a writer who accused the former US president of lying by denying that he raped her 27 years ago.

In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, former Elle E. Jean Carroll columnist also accused Trump of criminal conduct during an alleged encounter at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan.

Carroll, 78, filed an offense claim under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, a new law that gives sexual assault victims a one-year period to sue accused person of abusing them, even if the abuse occurred long ago and the statute of limitations has expired.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, is the first day whistleblowers can sue.

Trump, 76, has denied raping Carroll or knowing her at the time, and said she was “not my type.”

His first denial in June 2019 led her to sue for defamation 5 months later.

He repeated the denial in an October 12 post on his Truth Social account, calling Carroll’s claims a “hoax” and “a lie,” leading to a new defamation statement.

Both sides are awaiting an appeals court ruling addressing Trump’s argument that he is legally exempt from Carroll’s first lawsuit because he spoke as president.

If the courts agree that the US government, which has sovereign immunity from defamation claims, can be substituted for Trump as defendant, then Carroll’s first lawsuit will failure.

That probably won’t affect her second lawsuit because Trump is a private citizen, having left the White House in January 2021.

Carroll is looking for unspecified damages. To support her claim of offense, she said that Trump caused her lasting psychological damage and made it impossible for her to maintain a romantic relationship.

The first case is scheduled to be heard on February 6, 2023 before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, but will likely be delayed due to the appeals process.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan requested an April 10 hearing for both lawsuits, saying they have significant overlap.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, sought a May 8 hearing for only the first case. She also told the judge that a longer delay was justified because Trump did not hire a lawyer for the second case.

“Your client in the current case, Mrs. Habba, has known this is going to happen for months and he would be well advised to decide who would represent him in it,” the judge replied.

Judge Kaplan said he could decide as early as next week how to schedule both lawsuits.

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