By Tierney Sneed
Former President Donald Trump asked a federal court on Wednesday to dismiss the sexual assault lawsuit, brought under a new state law in New York, that was filed by the ex-magazine columnist who has accused Trump of rape.
Trump alleges in the motion to dismiss that the law, the Adult Survivors Act, runs afoul of the New York state constitution’s due process protections. He also called the additional defamation claim the accuser, E. Jean Carroll, is bringing in the lawsuit “baseless and legally defective.”
The Adult Survivors Act went into effect on November 24 and Carroll brought the suit against Trump that day. The law gives adult survivors of sexual assault one year to file lawsuits against their perpetrators, even if the statute of limitations on their claims has expired.
The lawsuit is the second Carroll has brought against Trump, but the first to seek to hold him accountable for battery for allegedly raping Carroll in the dressing room of a New York department store in the mid-1990s. Through his attorneys, Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
In the new lawsuit, she is asking a judge to order Trump to retract allegedly defamatory statements he’s made about her and award compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages in an amount to be determined at trial.
In 2019, Carroll sued the then-president for defamation after he denied her sexual assault allegation, said he never met Carroll, that she wasn’t his type, and that she made up the story to boost sales of her new book.
In last month’s lawsuit, Carroll re-upped those previous statements and added a new one, from October 2022, when Trump said similar things about her as he was set to sit for a deposition related to the 2019 lawsuit.
Carroll’s 2019 defamation lawsuit against Trump has been hanging in the balance as he and the Justice Department have argued that he was acting within the scope of his duties as president when he answered reporters’ questions about the allegations.
While a federal judge sided with Carroll, an appeals court found that Trump was an employee of the federal government at the time of the remarks but asked the DC Court of Appeals to weigh in on whether his comments were in the scope of his employment.
The DC appeals court has expedited the case and could decide early next year. If the court rules against Carroll, the case will likely be dismissed because the federal government cannot be sued for defamation.
If the 2019 case is dismissed, the defamation claims from 2022 would not be impacted since Trump was not a federal employee in October when he made the new statements.
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CNN’s Kara Scannell contributed to this report
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