Donald Trump countersues, seeking to turn tables on woman who accused him of rape
Jun 28, 2023, 7:50 AM
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)
NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is trying to turn the tables on the advice columnist who won a $5 million jury award against him after accusing him of rape, saying in a countersuit that she owes him money and a retraction for defaming him by continuing to insist she was raped even after a jury declined to agree.
Attorneys Alina Habba and Michael T. Madaio, representing the Republican candidate for president, filed papers late Tuesday to say writer E. Jean Carroll should pay Trump unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and retract her damaging statements.
The countersuit came two weeks after U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan accepted a rewritten defamation lawsuit from Carroll that seeks at least $10 million more in compensatory damages and substantially more in punitive damages for comments Trump made after the jury verdict last month.
The jury concluded after a two-week trial that Trump sexually abused Carroll in a luxury department store dressing room in spring 1996. It also found that he defamed her in comments he made denying the attack in a statement last October and in a deposition the same month.
But the jury rejected Carroll’s claims, first made in a 2019 memoir, that Trump raped her in the Bergdorf Goodman dressing room.
At trial, Carroll testified that the rape occurred after a chance encounter at the midtown store with Trump filled with frivolity and flirtations turned into a violent assault as they each teased each other to try on a piece of lingerie that Trump was seeking for a friend.
Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for president again next year, did not appear at the trial. But extensive excerpts of his recorded deposition were played for jurors, along with an infamous video revealed shortly before Trump’s 2016 election in which he bragged that celebrities can grab women sexually without consent.
Trump has consistently denied ever raping Carroll or knowing her. He said the department store encounter never happened.
In his countersuit, Trump’s lawyers cited comments Carroll made in a CNN interview after May’s verdict, saying that when she was questioned about the jury’s finding that she was not raped, Carroll responded: “Oh yes he did, oh yes he did.”
And they said Carroll also revealed that when she spoke to Trump attorney Joe Tacopina immediately after the verdict, she said she told him emphatically: “He did it and you know it.”
The lawyers wrote that Carroll “made these statements knowing each of them were false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity.”
“The Interview was on television, social media and multiple internet websites, with the intention of broadcasting and circulating these defamatory statements among a significant portion of the public,” they added.
In a statement in response to Trump’s counterclaim, Carroll attorney Robbie Kaplan said that Trump “again argues, contrary to both logic and fact, that he was exonerated by a jury that found that he sexually abused E Jean Carroll by forcibly inserting his fingers into her vagina.”
She said four of five statements cited by the counterclaim were made outside of the one-year statute of limitations when a claim must be made and that the other will be dismissed by the judge.
“Trump’s filing is thus nothing more than his latest effort to delay accountability for what a jury has already found to be his defamation of E Jean Carroll. But whether he likes it or not, that accountability is coming very soon,” Kaplan said. Kaplan is not related to the judge.
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