US federal judge dismisses Trump counter-defamation lawsuit against E. Jean Carroll News
"Donald Trump" - Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0
US federal judge dismisses Trump counter-defamation lawsuit against E. Jean Carroll

US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed former President Donald Trump’s counter-defamation suit against author E. Jean Carroll on Monday. Carroll has accused Trump of sexual assault, with a jury finding that Trump did sexually assault Carroll and defamed Carroll by accusing her of lying.

Trump claimed that Carroll’s statements on CNN after the verdict were false and defamatory as she assented to the allegation that he specifically “raped” Carroll as defined under New York law. However, the lawsuit from May only determined that he sexually assaulted her. Judge Kaplan rejected this argument and dismissed the suit, saying Trump “fail[ed] plausibly to allege that Ms. Carroll’s statements were not true” and “Ms. Carroll’s allegedly defamatory statements were substantially true as a matter of law.”

Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan told CNN, “We are pleased that the Court dismissed Donald Trump’s counterclaim.” Trump’s attorney Alina Habba criticized the ruling, saying, “We strongly disagree with the flawed decision and will be filing an appeal shortly.”

While a verdict has been made in the lawsuit known as Carroll II, the original defamation lawsuit filed by Carroll in 2019, known as Carroll I, is still ongoing. The jury trial in the original defamation suit is scheduled for January 2024. Kaplan, stated, “[T]he January 15th jury trial will be limited to a narrow set of issues and shouldn’t take very long to complete. E. Jean Carroll looks forward to obtaining additional compensatory and punitive damages based on the original defamatory statements Donald Trump made in 2019.” Both of Carroll’s lawsuits accuse Trump of sexually assaulting her in a dressing room in New York City about 28 years ago. Trump tried and failed to obtain a mistrial in Carroll II and asserted a defense of immunity to no avail in Carroll I.

Carroll is only one of at least 26 women who have accused Trump of sexual assault, with accusations going back to the 1970s. Trump has dismissed all the allegations against him, asserting they are largely politically motivated. Those who have accused Trump include Jessica Leads, Kristin Anderson, Jill Harth, Temple Taggart, Natasha Stoynoff and Summer Zervos among others. Multiple accusations have come from women whom Trump worked with through his business in the pageant world and on his TV show The Apprentice on NBC. The most recent allegations come from Alva Johnson, a Trump campaign staffer in 2016.

Trump is also facing criminal legal problems as he begins his 2024 run for president. Trump is facing federal criminal charges due to his involvement in the January 6th Capitol Riot and his accusations of fraud after the 2020 presidential election. He is also facing more federal charges in Florida in relation to the storage and retention of classified documents. Trump was also indicted by a New York state grand jury in a falsified business records case related to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to cover an alleged affair. Trump is still subject to state grand jury proceedings in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election result in that state, and the grand jury will decide whether he will be criminally charged in Georgia.