A federal judge in Manhattan has rejected former President Donald Trump’s request to delay a civil defamation lawsuit after he disputed author E. Jean Carroll’s allegations that he raped her.
In a 2019 book, Carroll claimed that Trump raped her in a New York department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Trump has repeatedly denied Carroll’s allegations, leading the author to file a federal defamation lawsuit against the former president in New York.
Trump’s legal team had sought to delay the trial over Carroll’s defamation allegations, arguing that they should delay his trial by a month to provide a longer “cooling off” period after the media buzz surrounding a separate criminal case against Trump brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
In a Monday decision (pdf), Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled, “There is no justification for an adjournment” and that the case before him “is entirely unrelated to the state prosecution” brought by Bragg.
Kaplan, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, wrote that the media coverage surrounding Bragg’s decision to indict Trump was “significantly (though certainly not entirely) invited or provoked by Mr. Trump’s own actions.”
Trump first brought attention to Bragg’s criminal case even before Bragg announced an indictment. Trump has repeatedly denied the criminal allegations in Bragg’s case, which are linked to his alleged reimbursement for payments to stop adult film actress Stormy Daniels from making claims the two had an affair. Trump has also questioned the political motives of Bragg and the judge overseeing the case, Juan Merchan.
Trump’s lawyers had identified Daniels’ allegations of an affair and Carroll’s claims he raped her as a shared pattern of “alleged sexual misconduct” that rests at the heart of both Bragg’s criminal prosecution and Carroll’s defamation lawsuit. Trump’s lawyers argued that the media buzz related to Bragg’s case would therefore make it difficult for Trump to be able to get an impartial jury in Carroll’s civil case in the same city.
Kaplan argued that the two cases “do indeed have something to do with ‘sex'” but that the similarities end there and thus, the Trump team’s argument is not a strong enough reason to justify delaying the civil case stemming from Carroll’s rape allegations.
With Kaplan’s decision, the civil defamation case will proceed as scheduled on April 25.
Carroll’s Defamation Case
The trial will not directly address Carroll’s rape allegations but will focus on whether Trump defamed the author when he denied her rape allegations.
Carroll’s defamation complaint (pdf) specifically alleges Trump accused her of lying about the rape to increase her own book sales.
On June 21, 2019, Trump issued a statement that reads:
“Regarding the ‘story’ by E. Jean Carroll, claiming she once encountered me at Bergdorf Goodman 23 years ago. I’ve never met this person in my life. She is trying to sell a new book—that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section … Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda—like Julie Swetnick who falsely accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh … If anyone has information that the Democratic Party is working with Ms. Carroll or New York Magazine, please notify us as soon as possible. The world should know what’s really going on. It is a disgrace and people should pay dearly for such false accusations.”
In an Oct. 12, 2022, post on his Truth social media platform, Trump again wrote, “I don’t know this woman, have no idea who she is, other than it seems she got a picture of me many years ago, with her husband, shaking my hand on a reception line at a celebrity charity event. She completely made up a story that I met her at the doors of this crowded New York City Department Store and, within minutes, ‘swooned’ her. It is a Hoax and a lie.”
NTD News reached out to Trump’s attorneys for comment but did not receive a response by press time.