Jun 13, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Judge allows E. Jean Carroll to amend lawsuit include fresh damages from Trump

Writer E. Jean Carroll, middle, leaving a courthouse in May 2023.

Writer E. Jean Carroll, middle, leaving a New York City courthouse in May 2023. Photo: Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A New York judge approved writer E. Jean Carroll's amended 2019 defamation lawsuit against former President Trump on Tuesday to include damages over remarks he made about her during a televised CNN town hall event last month.

Why it matters: The amended lawsuit contributes to the myriad legal perils bearing down on Trump, who on Tuesday was arraigned in a Miami federal court on charges from the Department of Justice related to retaining classified information and obstruction of justice.

  • Trump, who is running for president, made the comments one day after a New York jury held him liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a separate lawsuit from Carroll, who was awarded $5 million in damages from Trump.
  • During the town hall, Trump ridiculed Carroll and the jury's decision, calling her a "whack job" and claimed that her allegations that he sexually assaulted her in the dressing room of a luxury Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s were "fake" and "made up."
  • In the amended lawsuit, Carroll is seeking at least an additional $10 million in damages.

Between the lines: The amendment is to a previous defamation lawsuit Carroll filed in 2019 in response to Trump denying her accusation.

  • Trump had attempted to delay proceedings by arguing that he can't be sued because he made the denial at issue while he was president, though he did sit for a deposition in the case in October 2022.
  • Carroll filed another lawsuit in November 2022 just minutes after a New York law allowing adult survivors of sexual violence to sue over attacks that occurred decades ago went into effect.
  • The second lawsuit went to trial last month, and while the jury did not determine whether Trump raped Carroll, as she alleged, it did find that he sexually assaulted her in the dressing room.

What they're saying: "We look forward to moving ahead expeditiously on E. Jean Carroll's remaining claims," said Carroll's attorney, Roberta Kaplan, in a statement after the amendment was approved.

  • Carroll and Kaplan previously said they were considering a fresh defamation lawsuit against Trump townhall event comments, according to the New York Times.
  • Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

The big picture: Carroll's amended lawsuit was approved by District Judge Lewis Kaplan, the same judge that oversaw the trial over Carroll's second lawsuit.

  • At least 26 women, including Carroll, have made public allegations of sexual misconduct or assault against Trump over the years, but only a few resulted in litigation and only Carroll's has ever gone to trial.
  • Trump filed an appeal against the jury's verdict earlier this month and has denied Carroll's accusation.

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