Judge Throws Out Trump’s Countersuit Against Jean Carroll

In a civil trial held this year in Manhattan, former President Donald J. Trump was found responsible for sexually assaulting and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll. On Monday, a federal court rejected Trump’s countersuit against Carroll.

Trump claimed that Carroll had committed defamation by repeatedly saying that, some 30 years ago, he had assaulted her in the dressing room of a New York City department store. While deciding that Carroll had shown sufficient evidence that the former president had sexually assaulted her, the jury in May declined to find Mr. Trump guilty of rape.

In June 2019, when Trump was still in office, Carroll, a former magazine writer, went public with her account of the attack. At the time, he dismissed the claim as “totally false,” calling Carroll a liar and claiming her motivation for making the claim was to promote her upcoming book. As for Carroll, he said he wouldn’t have attacked her since she wasn’t his “type.”

Trump has several civil and criminal legal issues, including three indictments, one of which is for trying to reverse the presidential vote he lost in 2020.

Using a New York statute that gave individuals just one year to file a claim for sexual assault before their 18th birthday, Carroll filed her case against him in 2022 for behavior before his tenure. The jury gave her approximately $3 million because of his defamatory statements and $2 million because of his wrongdoing.

Trump, vying for reelection, filed a countersuit in June, claiming that Carroll smeared his character by continuing to accuse him of rape after the jury’s ruling.

According to Monday’s ruling by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, the jury’s verdict “implicitly determined that Trump had forcibly penetrated Carroll with his fingers,” which, in Judge Kaplan’s view, constitutes rape in the broader sense of the term (as opposed to the narrower legal definition that the jury was required to consider).

In a defamation lawsuit involving a prominent person, the veracity of an allegation is crucial. In his article, Kaplan argued that this kind of evidence would have to prove that the claims in issue were false and published with “actual malice.”

In a separate defamation action delayed by appeals, Carroll is demanding millions more because Trump severely damaged her professional and personal image by labeling her a liar while he was in office. The trial, postponed while Trump claimed he was immune because of his office, is now set to begin in January.