According to a New York law that permits sexual assault victims to file lawsuits years after the alleged assault, writer and columnist E. Jean Carroll is suing former president Donald Trump for an alleged sexual assault in the 1990s.
A few minutes after the Adult Survivors Act went into effect on Thursday, Carroll’s attorneys filed the lawsuit. No matter when the alleged violation occurred, adult sexual assault survivors now have up to a year to file a lawsuit under a law that was signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) in late May.
Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, alleges that Trump sexually assaulted her in the middle of the 1990s in a dressing room of a high-end Manhattan department store. Trump has refuted this claim.
Carroll allegedly filed the lawsuit to “obtain redress for her injuries and to demonstrate that even a man as powerful as Trump can be held accountable under the law,” according to a court document submitted on Thursday.
She accuses Trump of sexual assault and claims that it resulted in “significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological harms, loss of dignity, and invasion of her privacy.” She is suing him for battery and defamation and seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
The court case was anticipated. Carroll declared in court documents submitted in September that she would sue the former president under the Adult Survivors Act “as soon as that statute authorizes us to do so” as part of her ongoing, separate defamation case against Trump.
Carroll detailed the alleged assault for the first time in a book in 2019. The statute of limitations had run at the time, so she was unable to file a claim.
In response to the allegations, Trump, who has been charged with sexual assault by numerous other women, said Carroll was “totally lying” and that the journalist was “not my type.” Trump was then sued for defamation by Carroll.
Carroll claims Trump “forced her up against a dressing room wall, pinned her in place with his shoulder, and raped her” in court documents submitted on Thursday. The suit notes that, out of fear, Carroll had kept quiet about the incident for more than 20 years, before deciding it was time to speak out after the #MeToo movement galvanized survivors of sexual assault around the world to share their stories.
The writer “intends to hold Donald Trump accountable not only for defaming her, but also for sexually assaulting her, which he did years ago in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman,” according to a statement from Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, regarding the new lawsuit.
In accordance with New York law, Thanksgiving Day was the first day Ms. Carroll could file, so our complaint was submitted to the court shortly after midnight.
Jean Carroll, Trump’s most recent accuser, is “totally lying” and “not my type,” he claims.
Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, rejected the allegations on Thursday.
“While I respect and admire individuals that come forward, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this Act which creates a terrible precedent and runs the risk of delegitimizing the credibility of actual victims,” Habba told the Associated Press.
Carroll’s attorneys have sought to combine the defamation case with the new lawsuit filed on Thursday under the Adult Survivors Act, despite Trump’s legal team’s contention that doing so would be unfair.
The Child Victims Act of New York, which was signed in 2019 and provided a similar opportunity for survivors of child sexual abuse to bring legal claims against their alleged abusers, served as the inspiration for the Adult Survivors Act.
Under the new law, which supporters claim gives survivors a chance to hold their attackers accountable — even if a sizable amount of time has passed since the alleged incident — a deluge of lawsuits are anticipated to be filed.