A federal judge has dismissed Donald Trump’s counter defamation lawsuit against E. Jean Carroll, dealing another legal blow to the former president.
In an order Monday, Judge Lewis Kaplan said that Trump had not proven that Carroll’s statements on CNN the day after the jury awarded her $5 million after finding that Trump sexually abused Carroll and defamed her were false or “not at least substantially true,” which is the legal standard.
Trump sued Carroll in June based on her response to questions posed on CNN. Carroll was asked about the verdict finding Trump sexually abused Carroll, but did not rape her as defined under New York law and as she alleged. Carroll said, “Oh, yes he did.”
In throwing out Trump’s lawsuit, the judge wrote, “Indeed, the jury’s verdict in Carroll II establishes, as against Mr Trump, the fact that Mr Trump ‘raped her’, albeit digitally rather than with his penis. Thus, it establishes against him the substantial truth of Ms Carroll’s ‘rape’ accusations.”
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Kaplan added: “In consequence, there is no merit to Mr Trump’s argument that the jury’s finding on Penal Law ‘rape’ question established that Ms Carroll’s statements were false even if her statements reasonably could be construed as referring to ‘rape’ in that specialized Penal Law sense, a subject on which this Court now expresses no view.”
The judge previously rejected Trump’s request for a new trial.
Trump is set to go to trial in January on another defamation lawsuit brought by Carroll in 2019 for statements Trump made while he was president. That case was tied up in legal issues while the lawsuit brought under the Adult Survivors Act (known as Carroll II) went to trial in May, resulting in the $5 million award.
The former president has also appealed that jury’s verdict and other “adverse” rulings.
Carroll’s attorneys have argued the only issue for the jury in January is how much in damages Trump should pay her. Trump’s attorneys argued there should be a cap on damages to avoid double counting from the jury’s verdict in the ASA case.
“We are pleased that the Court dismissed Donald Trump’s counterclaim,” said Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan. “That means that the 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.”
The trial comes in the middle of the presidential primary season and as Trump prepares to defend against three criminal indictments.
“We strongly disagree with the flawed decision and will be filing an appeal shortly,” said Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump.
This story has been updated with an additional statement from Carroll’s attorney.