Since filing a defamation lawsuit in 2019, E. Jean Carroll has been doggedly pursuing justice against Donald Trump stemming from what she credibly alleges is a rape that occurred in a dressing room at Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. Quite predictably, Trump has called Carroll’s lawsuit “a hoax and a lie,” and rather than follow up with a confident defense to clear his name, Trump has repeatedly tried to torpedo the process.
Two separate developments are welcome news both for Carroll and the integrity of the U.S. legal system. Neither development guarantees that Carroll will be victorious, but they help ensure that she will have a full day in court, so to speak, presenting all relevant facts and evidence. Given the gravity and disturbing nature of her accusations against Trump, Carroll deserves nothing less.
One issue Carroll has faced is Trump’s desperate defense that he was President of the United States when he denied raping Carroll and mocked her as “not my type.” Trump argues that even if his statements were defamatory, he was simply doing his job as President and should therefore escape liability. By acting within the scope of his duties as a federal employee, according to Trump, the U.S. government—and not the offending monster—is the proper defendant.
While the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is preparing a ruling on this issue, Trump wants the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to stop the trial discovery, most notably Trump’s deposition that is currently scheduled for October 19. However, on Wednesday, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan denied Trump his latest delay tactic, ordering the parties to proceed with his deposition.
Noting that Trump “has conducted extensive discovery of the plaintiff, yet produced virtually none himself,” Judge Kaplan explained that sitting for a deposition “would impose no undue burden on Mr. Trump, let alone any irreparable injury.” He also pointed out the “advanced age” of Carroll, Trump, and other possible witnesses as a further reason to move forward.
The second new development speaks to the nature of Carroll’s legal options against Trump. Carroll’s defamation lawsuit is aimed at protecting her reputation. Carroll is now able to file a second lawsuit against Trump for the underlying sexual assault. On May 24, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Adult Survivors Act into law, giving adult sexual assault victims a chance to sue even if the statute of limitations has expired, as it had in Carroll’s case.
Carroll looks forward to filing her new lawsuit on the first day the law allows, which is six months after it took effect. Trump should take out his Sharpie and mark November 24 on his calendar as the date when he will finally become a defendant in Carroll’s lawsuit for rape. Happy Thanksgiving, Trump.