NEW YORK (Reuters) – A writer sued former U.S. President Donald Trump for defamation for the second time on Thursday, accusing the former U.S. president of lying by denying he raped her 27 years ago.
In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, former Elle magazine columnist Carroll Trump is also accused of battery in an alleged confrontation at a Bergdorf Goodman store in Manhattan.
Carroll, 78, filed the battery suit under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, a new law that gives sexual assault victims a one-year window to sue alleged abusers, even if the abuse occurred long ago and the statute of limitations has expired.
Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, was the first day the defendants could sue.
Trump, 76, denied raping Carroll or knowing her at the time and said she was “not my type”.
Her first denial in June 2019 prompted her to file a defamation lawsuit five months later.
He repeated the denial on October 12 on his Truth Social account, calling Carroll’s claim a “hoax” and a “lie”, which led to the new defamation allegation.
Both parties are awaiting appeals court decisions that address Trump’s argument that he is legally immune from Carroll’s first lawsuit because he spoke as president.
If the courts agree that the US government, which enjoys sovereign immunity from defamation lawsuits, can replace Trump as defendant, Carroll’s first lawsuit will fail.
It likely won’t affect her second lawsuit because Trump is a private citizen, having left the White House in January 2021.
Carroll is seeking unspecified damages. To support her claim about the battery, she said Trump caused her permanent psychological damage, leaving her unable to maintain a romantic relationship.
The lawsuit is scheduled to first go to trial on February 6, 2023, before US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, but will likely be delayed due to the appeals process.
At a hearing Tuesday, Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan requested an April 10 trial covering both lawsuits, saying there was significant overlap.
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habbeh, requested a May 8 trial in the first lawsuit only. She also told the judge that a longer delay made sense because Trump had not appointed an attorney for the second lawsuit.
The judge replied, “Your client in the current case, Mrs. Heba, knew that this was coming months ago, and it is better for him to decide who represents him in it.”
Judge Kaplan said he may decide early next week how to schedule the lawsuits.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel) in New York. Editing by Howard Goller and Nick Zieminski
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