On Monday, a federal judge issued a ruling on a counterclaim filed by former President Donald Trump against author E. Jean Carroll. The decision has been met with much interest and scrutiny as the case develops.
The judge rejected the former president’s claim that Carroll defamed him “with statements she made in media appearances following her successful defamation and battery lawsuit against him, which resulted in a $5 million damage award,” ABC News reported.
The judge rejected former President Trump’s claim that journalist E. Jean Carroll had defamed him with statements she made in media appearances following her successful defamation and battery lawsuit against him, which resulted in a $5 million damage award, according to ABC News.
Trump’s lawyers argued that Carroll’s comments caused “significant harm to his reputation,” entitling him to punitive and compensatory damages.
This followed the May verdict from a New York jury, which held Trump accountable for sexually assaulting Carroll in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room during the 1990s.
He later dismissed her allegations as “a Hoax and a lie” in an article he posted on Twitter.
In her public appearances following the jury’s verdict, Carroll maintained that Trump had sexually abused her, in accordance with the definition provided by New York penal law.
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Lewis Kaplan noted that this implicitly found Trump to have forcibly penetrated her with his fingers.
“[I]n other words, that Mr. Trump in fact did ‘rape’ Ms. Carroll as that term commonly is used and understood in contexts outside New York Penal Law,” Kaplan wrote in his order dismissing Trump’s counterclaim.
“The instructions with respect to the rape question thus made clear that if the jury found that Mr. Trump forcibly penetrated Ms. Carroll’s vagina with his fingers, but not also with his penis, it was obliged to answer ‘no’ to the rape question,” the judge wrote. “However, if it found that Mr. Trump forcibly penetrated Ms. Carroll digitally, it was obliged to answer ‘yes’ to the sexual abuse question, as the New York Penal Law definition of ‘sexual abuse’ encompasses such conduct.”
Carroll has filed a lawsuit claiming that President Trump defamed her in 2019, with the trial set to take place in January 2021, according to ABC News.
Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, released a statement on Monday following the judge’s ruling.
“That means that the January 15th jury trial will be limited to a narrow set of issues and shouldn’t take very long to complete,” Kaplan said. “E. Jean Carroll looks forward to obtaining additional compensatory and punitive damages based on the original defamatory statements Donald Trump made in 2019.”
Last month, Kaplan rejected Trump’s request for a new trial following the earlier decision that Carroll was entitled to millions in damages. According to Kaplan’s ruling, the jury’s initial verdict wasn’t “seriously erroneous” or a “miscarriage of justice.”
“Trump filed the counterclaim on Tuesday that alleged that Carroll defamed him when she accused him of raping her during an appearance on CNN on May 10, which is just a day after a nine-member jury found that Trump did not commit rape. According to the counterclaim, Trump alleged that Carroll defamed him when she said, ‘oh yes he did, oh yes he did,’ in response to an interview question on CNN asking for her thoughts on the jury’s ruling that Trump was not liable for rape,” The Hill reported at the time.
In a filing in response to a defamation suit brought against him, President Trump’s lawyers argued that the plaintiff had made false statements with malicious intent and had caused significant harm to his reputation.
The statement alleged that Carroll had deliberately disseminated her claims on multiple media platforms in order to maximize their reach.