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May 26, 2023
Trump Argues Carroll Libel Suit Fails Because of Verdict in Parallel Case
(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump claims a jury finding that he wasn’t liable for raping E. Jean Carroll derails her other pending lawsuit against him.
Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said in a Friday court filing that she plans to use the argument to urge a judge to throw out Carroll’s 2019 defamation suit before it goes to trial in New York as early as this fall.
A federal jury on May 9 found Trump liable for sexually abusing — but not raping — Carroll in a department store dressing room in 1996, resolving the 2022 civil lawsuit and awarding her $5 million in damages.
Habba said in a letter to the judge that the jury’s finding on rape in the case dubbed “Carroll II” has a major impact on Carroll’s first defamation suit against Trump, which she filed while he was in office and after he called her a liar from the White House.
“Since the jury verdict in Carroll II did not find defendant liable for rape, then the complaint filed in Carroll I based solely on defamatory statements regarding an alleged rape should be dismissed by this court as a matter of law,” Habba said in the letter.
Habba also urged the court to deny Carroll’s request to amend the 2019 suit to add new details gleaned from Trump’s deposition in the sexual-abuse case, as well as remarks he made about her on a televised CNN town hall the day after the verdict.
Carroll’s lawyer Robbie Kaplan declined to comment on the filing.
In the proposed amended complaint, Carroll replaced the rape allegation with sexual assault, while Trump’s allegedly defamatory statements such as that Carroll fabricated her claims to boost book sales and falsely accused other men remain unchanged.
She’s seeking at least $10 million in damages in the amended complaint.
Allowing Carroll to amend the defamation suit “would severely and unduly prejudice” Trump, Habba said in the letter.
Trump, 76, denies attacking Carroll and argues he is protected by presidential immunity.
Read more: Trump Accuser Carroll Seeks $10 Million in Amended Lawsuit
(Updates with Carroll’s lawyer declining to comment.)
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