News update from the Washington Post: A federal judge on Tuesday rejected the Justice Department’s bid to make the U.S. government the defendant in a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says President Trump raped her decades ago, paving the way for the case to again proceed.
In a 59-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote that Trump did not qualify as a government “employee” under federal law, nor was he acting “within the scope of his employment” when he denied during interviews in 2019 that he had raped journalist E. Jean Carroll in a Manhattan department store during the 1990s.
“I think the time is over when a woman is a victim of a man!” E. Jean Carroll said to applause at the NextTribe Out Loud event in New York City in October 2019.
And proving she’s no victim, Carroll, the longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine and author of What Do We Need Men For?, has filed a defamation of character suit against Donald Trump. She was quiet for years about what she alleges was a sexual attack by him in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 90s. She only went public with the charge with the publication of her book this past summer. But she’s not standing by silently now that Trump has accused her of lying about the sexual assault to increase book sales and advance a political agenda.
The suit, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court today, states that Trump knew his disavowals and charges against her were false. “At a bare minimum, he acted with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity,” the complaint said, adding that Trump’s statements “inflicted emotional pain and suffering, they damaged her reputation, and they caused substantial professional harm.”
Not Just Her
Carroll is asking for Trump to retract his statements about her and to pay damages. “While I can no longer hold Donald Trump accountable for assaulting me more than twenty years ago, I can hold him accountable for lying about it and I fully intend to do so,” she added.
She also made it clear that she was filing the suit as a gesture for other women who have been denounced or called liars when making a claim against a man. This lawsuit is for “every woman who’s been pinched, prodded, cornered, felt-up, pushed against a wall, grabbed, groped, assaulted, and has spoken up only to be shamed, demeaned, disgraced, passed over for promotions, fired, and forgotten,” she said.
On stage at NextTribe’s Out Loud event in October, Carroll was joined by longtime friend, writer Lisa Birnbach. Birnbach was one of the women Carroll told about Trump’s sexual assault years ago. Birnbach shed light on why Carroll didn’t go to the police after the attack. “You have to remember at the time Trump was like Crazy Eddie,” Birnbach said, referring to the manic and overbearing salesman for an electronics chain in the Northeast at the time. “It was is no one’s mind that he would one day become president.”
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham dismissed Carroll’s suit. “The lawsuit is frivolous and the story is a fraud — just like the author,” Grisham added.
A version of this story was originally published in November 2019.