E. Jean Carroll is suing Trump under the New York Adult Survivors Act


Author and columnist E. Jean Carroll is suing former President Donald Trump for an alleged sexual assault in the 1990s, under a New York law that allows victims of sexual assault to file lawsuits years later.

Carroll’s attorneys filed the suit Thursday, minutes after the Adult Survivors Act went into effect. The law, which was signed by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in late May, gives adult sexual assault survivors up to a year to file a lawsuit, regardless of when the alleged violation occurred.

Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, says Trump raped her in a dressing room at a luxury department store in Manhattan in the mid-1990s — a claim Trump has denied.

The court filing Thursday said Carroll filed the suit to “recover for his injuries and to demonstrate that even a man as powerful as Trump can be held accountable under the law.”

She is suing Trump for battery and defamation, seeking compensatory and punitive damages, saying the alleged sexual assault caused “substantial pain and suffering, permanent psychological harm, loss of dignity and invasion of her privacy.”

The trial was expected. Carroll said in court records filed in September as part of her ongoing, separate defamation suit against Trump that she would file a lawsuit against the former president under the Adult Survivors Act “as soon as that statute authorizes us to do so.”

Carroll first recounted the alleged assault in a book in 2019. She was unable to press charges at the time because the statute of limitations had expired.

Speaking to reporters on June 22, 2019, President Trump denied claims by magazine writer E. Jean Carroll that Trump assaulted her in 1995 or early 1996. (Video: The Washington Post)

Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault by a number of other women, responded to the allegations by saying that Carroll “absolutely lied” and that the reporter was “not my type.” Carroll then sued Trump for defamation.

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In the court documents filed Thursday, Carroll alleges that Trump “forced her against a locker room wall, pinned her down with his shoulder and raped her.” The suit notes that out of fear, Carroll had kept quiet about the incident for more than 20 years before deciding it was time to speak out after the #MeToo movement encouraged sexual assault survivors around the world to share their stories.

In a statement about the new lawsuit, Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said the author “intends to hold Donald Trump accountable not only for defaming her, but also for sexually assaulting her, which he did years ago in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman.”

“Thanksgiving Day was the very first day Ms. Carroll could file under New York law, so our complaint was filed in court shortly after midnight.”

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Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, denied the allegations Thursday.

“While I respect and admire individuals who come forward, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this law, which sets a terrible precedent and risks delegitimizing the credibility of actual victims,” ​​Habba told the Associated Press.

Representatives for Carroll have sought to merge the defamation case with Thursday’s new trial under the Adult Survivors Act, although Trump’s legal team has argued that the move would be prejudicial.

The Adult Survivors Act is based on New York’s Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in 2019 and offered a similar opportunity for survivors of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits against their alleged abusers.

An avalanche of lawsuits is expected to be filed under the new law, which supporters say gives survivors a chance to hold their attackers accountable — even if a significant amount of time has passed since the alleged incident,

Shayna Jacobs contributed to this report.

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