Trump headed to trial in April in NYC rape and defamation case
NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump is headed to trial in New York City this spring in writer E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit alleging he raped her and then defamed her by saying she was lying about the sexual assault, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Lewis Kaplan set an April 25 trial date hours after Trump’s lawyers asked him to push the case back to June.
Kaplan said he is yet to resolve whether the trial will consolidate the two suits Carroll has against Trump.
Carroll filed the first lawsuit against Trump, which includes defamation claims, in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2019 when he called her a liar after she accused him of rape.
The libel suit was bogged down after it was kicked over to federal court when Trump argued he couldn’t be sued because he was the president. The Justice Department continued to defend that argument after President Joe Biden took office, claiming it wasn’t Trump it was trying to shield but federal employees from lawsuits. The matter is currently before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Habba unsuccessfully requested Kaplan put the Manhattan federal case on ice until the D.C. court issues a decision.
Carroll filed her second lawsuit — the one headed to trial in 11 weeks — in November after New York’s Adult Survivors Act went into effect. It includes sexual battery claims and accuses him of defaming her a second time when he doubled down on his comments, calling her a liar when he was no longer president.
Central to both lawsuits is Carroll’s claims that Trump raped her inside Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Ave. between the fall of 1995 and the spring of 1996. Carroll says she still has the dress she wore during the encounter, which she never washed. She believes it has traces of Trump’s DNA.
Trump has vehemently denied all of Carroll’s allegations.
Trump will be represented at the trial by celebrity lawyer Joe Tacopina, who has defended Meek Mill and Alex Rodriguez. At Tuesday’s hearing, his other attorney, Alina Habba, confirmed that she would remain on the case. A Florida judge fined Habba and Trump $1 million last month for filing a frivolous lawsuit against Hilary Clinton on Trump’s behalf.
Reached for comment about the upcoming trial, Tacopina said, “We will be there.” Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan declined comment.
In deposition papers Judge Kaplan unsealed last month, a combative Trump disparaged Carroll as a “wack job.” He repeated his remarks describing her as sexually undesirable.
“When I say she’s not my type, I say she is not a woman I would ever be attracted to. There is no reason for me to be attracted to her,” Trump said in his October deposition.
During the same sit-down, the ex-president mistook Carroll for his second wife, Marla Maples, when shown a photo.
“You’re saying Marla is in this photo?” Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, asked Trump during the deposition.
“That’s Marla, yeah. That’s my wife,” Trump responded.
“No, that’s Carroll,” Habba interjected.