Former President Donald Trump responded Tuesday to an amended defamation complaint filed by E. Jean Carroll that asked a court to include compensatory damages for comments he made about her during a televised town hall event earlier this month.
Trump’s latest remarks came just hours after lawyers for Carroll, 79, accused Trump, 76, of having “doubled down” on derogatory comments about their client when he appeared at the town hall event on CNN on May 10, where he called his accuser a “whack job” and said her claims were fake.
In a lengthy post on Truth Social on May 23, Trump called Carroll’s legal action “A TOTAL SCAM,” claiming the case is part of the Democrats’ playbook to “tarnish my name and person.”
“I don’t know E. Jean Carroll, I never met her or touched her (except on a celebrity line with her African American husband who she disgustingly called the “Ape,”), I wouldn’t want to know or touch her, I never abused her or raped her or took her to a dressing room 25 years ago in a crowded department store where the doors are LOCKED, she has no idea when, or did anything else to her, except deny her Fake, Made Up Story, that she wrote in a book. IT NEVER HAPPENED, IS A TOTAL SCAM, UNFAIR TRIAL!” Trump wrote.
“The Carroll case is part of the Democrats playbook to tarnish my name and person, much like the now fully debunked Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax, the 51 Intelligence Agents, FBI/Twitter Files, and so much more,” he continued. “It is being funded and tried by Democrat operatives, although this was denied by them, and when they got caught in the lie, the Clinton appointed judge would not let us use it in trial. Time will prove him to be highly partisan & very unfair. Where’s the dress she said she had?”
In 2020, a lawyer for Carroll had a black wool dress—which Carroll claimed to have worn during the alleged encounter—tested for genetic material. A lab report with the legal notice said DNA found in skin cells on the outer surface of the sleeves was a mix of the DNA of at least four people, including unidentified male DNA.
Trump’s Legal Saga
A New York jury found Trump liable on May 9 for defamation and sexual battery, but not rape, ordering the former commander-in-chief to pay $5 million to Carroll in damages—about $3 million for the defamation charge, and about $2 million for civil battery. The defamation charge was related to a statement Trump made on Truth Social in October 2022.
Carroll asked a court on Monday to amend her remaining case to include Trump’s derogatory remark and denials during CNN’s town hall event. She is now seeking $10 million in compensatory damages. In addition to the $10 million, the now-amended lawsuit also seeks punitive damages.
“Trump’s defamatory statements post-verdict show the depth of his malice toward Carroll since it is hard to imagine defamatory conduct that could possibly be more motivated by hatred, ill will, or spite,” the lawyers wrote in the complaint (pdf).
“This conduct supports a very substantial punitive damages award in Carroll’s favor both to punish Trump, to deter him from engaging in further defamation, and to deter others from doing the same.”
Carroll formally revised the complaint a day before Trump made a virtual appearance before the Manhattan Criminal Court to hear a judge’s instructions on a protective order (pdf) placing limits on what materials the former president, or anyone on his team, can leak to the public in relation to the criminal case brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg.
Tuesday’s hearing was Trump’s first appearance after he pleaded not guilty in April to 34 felony-level counts of falsifying business records related to alleged hush money payments to adult entertainment actress, Stormy Daniels.
Original Defamation Suit
The clash between the two started in 2019 when Carroll accused Trump of having raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in 1995 or 1996.
Trump denied Carroll’s allegations at the time, saying “She’s not my type.” In response, Carroll filed her first defamation lawsuit against him in November 2019 (pdf), citing those words and others. That lawsuit bounced around state, federal, and appellate courts in New York and Washington, but without material consequences.
Up until Carroll’s amended complaint, her first lawsuit had been put on hold as an appeals court was deciding whether Trump was immune from being sued for remarks he made in 2019, when he was president.
Carroll filed her second defamation lawsuit on Nov. 24, 2022, under an amended state law in New York that gives victims of certain sexual offenses a one-year window, beginning on Nov. 24, 2022, to file a civil lawsuit against alleged offenders—even if the statute of limitations had passed.
The Associated Press and Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.