- On Monday, longtime Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump.
- Carroll made headlines in June when she accused the president of raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-90s.
- Trump denied the allegation and said he had never met Carroll, despite there being photographic evidence to the contrary.
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Longtime Elle advice columnist E. Jean Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump on Monday.
Carroll made headlines this summer when she published an account accusing Trump of raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s.
Trump denied the allegation and said he had never met Carroll, despite photographic evidence to the contrary. He accused her of using the story to try and sell her memoir and appeared to insult her looks by saying she’s “not my type.”
“I am filing this on behalf of every woman who has ever been harassed, assaulted, silenced, or spoken up only to be shamed, fired, ridiculed and belittled,” Carroll said in a statement on Monday, according to the Washington Post. “No person in this country should be above the law – including the president.”
Carroll says her career has suffered “as a direct direct result of Trump’s defamatory statements,” according to the lawsuit.
Since publishing the book excerpt that detailed the alleged assault, Carroll said she received half as many letters to her advice column for several months.
“Since Trump defamed her, some fans have stopped sending letters altogether – thus impairing Carroll’s column, which requires a steady flood of compelling letters to which she can respond,” the lawsuit states.
She is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
White House denies Carroll’s accusation again and calls her lawsuit ‘frivolous’
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told Business Insider that “the lawsuit is frivolous and the story is a fraud – just like the author.”
“I guess since the book did not make any money she’s trying to get paid another way. The story she used to try and sell her trash book never happened, period. Her version of events is not even feasible if you’ve ever tried on clothing in a dressing room of a crowded department store,” Grisham added.
Since Carroll is a public person, winning a defamation suit will be more difficult than if she was a private person. While saying something false about a person is enough to win a defamation suit for a private person, public figures must prove that the falsity was said with “malice.”
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, told the Washington Post that the comments about her looks seem to meet this “malice” standard.
“I don’t know what type a woman needs to be for him to decide to sexually assault someone, but that kind of gratuitous insult about her appearance is the kind of the thing that juries and judges look to,” Kaplan said. “It looks like malice.”
What Carroll says happened in a New York City dressing room in the mid-1990s
Carroll said she met Trump inside Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury Manhattan department store, and agreed to help him select a present for a girl after he asked her for advice. She wrote that Trump assaulted her after she entered a dressing room with him inside the store.
“The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips,” she wrote. “The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway – or completely, I’m not certain – inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle.”
Carroll wrote that she physically fought Trump off of her and fled the scene of the encounter, which took “no more than three minutes.”
“I try to stomp his foot. I try to push him off with my one free hand – for some reason, I keep holding my purse with the other – and I finally get a knee up high enough to push him out and off and I turn, open the door, and run out of the dressing room,” she wrote.
Carroll said she told two close friends, both female journalists whose names she did not publicly disclose, about the assault two decades ago. Both women confirmed to New York magazine that they had these conversations with Carroll.
- Read more:
- E. Jean Carroll explains why she didn’t use the word ‘rape’ in her sexual assault allegation against Trump
- Columnist E. Jean Carroll says she ‘never suffered’ mentally from alleged Trump assault
- ‘I’m so glad I’m not his type’: Columnist E. Jean Carroll fires back at Trump after his response to her allegation of sexual assault
- Columnist E. Jean Carroll says she won’t bring rape charge against Trump for alleged attack