No one, not even the president, is above the law
Donald Trump’s lawyers asked a judge to throw out an advice columnist’s defamation lawsuit over his response to her allegation that he raped her in the 1990s. Trump’s lawyers argue E Jean Carroll’s suit cannot go forward in a New York state court because his statements were made in Washington.
New York law does not allow for defamation suits over statements made elsewhere, except in circumstances Carroll’s case does not meet, Trump lawyer Lawrence S Rosen wrote. He did not address the substance of Carroll’s claims.
Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said it was “obviously ridiculous” to argue Trump cannot be sued in New York, his longtime hometown, though the president said in October he plans to change his residency to Florida after leaving the White House.
Kaplan called Friday’s filing "a transparent effort to avoid discovery at all costs in a case involving a sexual assault", referring to the pretrial evidence-gathering process called discovery. A judge has set time frames for various steps.
In a New York magazine piece last June and a subsequent book, Carroll accused Trump of raping her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-90s, after a chance meeting morphed into shopping for lingerie for the real estate mogul to give an unidentified woman.
She said she was joking with Trump when he steered her into a fitting room and that he then assaulted her.
Trump said in June Carroll was “totally lying” and the accusation was “fake news”. He called her “not my type”.
He also said he had never met her, though a 1987 photo shows the two and their then-spouses at a social event. He dismissed it, saying he was just “standing with my coat on in a line”.
Carroll sued in November, saying Trump’s remarks were falsehoods and smears that turned some readers off her Elle magazine advice column, harming her career.
Kaplan pointed out then that in her Elle column, “Carroll encourages her readers to be brave, to think clearly and to seek justice. So Carroll has decided to follow her own advice.”
In a statement, Carroll said: “I am filing this lawsuit for every woman who’s been pinched, prodded, cornered, felt-up, pushed against a wall, grabbed, groped, assaulted, and has spoken up only to be shamed, demeaned, disgraced, passed over for promotion, fired and forgotten.”
The suit seeks unspecified damages and a retraction of Trump’s statements.
Carroll added: “No one, not even the president, is above the law.”