Judge Throws Out Trump’s Countersuit Against E. Jean Carroll

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a countersuit by former President Donald J. Trump against E. Jean Carroll, the writer whom he was found liable for sexually abusing and defaming after a civil trial in Manhattan this year.

Mr. Trump had accused Ms. Carroll of defamation for her repeated assertions that he had raped her in the dressing room of a New York department store nearly 30 years ago. In May, a jury found that Ms. Carroll had proved that the former president sexually abused her, but stopped short of finding Mr. Trump liable for rape.

Ms. Carroll, a former magazine columnist, had first spoken publicly about the assault in June 2019, while Mr. Trump held office. He called the allegation “totally false” at the time, labeling Ms. Carroll a liar and arguing that she was trying to sell a new book. He also said he would not have assaulted Ms. Carroll because she was not his “type.”

Mr. Trump faces a panoply of legal problems both civil and criminal, including three indictments, one of them for attempting to overturn the presidential vote that he lost in 2020.

Ms. Carroll brought her lawsuit in 2022 over conduct that predated his term, using a New York law that allowed adults a one-year window in which to sue over past sexual abuse. The jury awarded her $2 million for his misconduct as well as nearly $3 million for defamation.

Mr. Trump, who is seeking to regain the presidency, had countersued in June, arguing that Ms. Carroll should not have continued to say that he raped her after the jury’s decision, and that her comments to CNN after the verdict sullied his reputation.

In the ruling on Monday, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote that the jury’s finding implicitly determined that Mr. Trump had forcibly penetrated Ms. Carroll with his fingers, which he said amounts to rape as the term is commonly used, outside of the narrower legal definition that the jury was required to consider.

The truthfulness of an assertion is a key component in a defamation case against a public figure. Mr. Kaplan wrote that such a figure must show that the statements in question were false and published with “actual malice.”

Ms. Carroll is seeking millions more in a parallel defamation case that has been stalled by appeals, arguing that Mr. Trump inflicted grave wounds on her reputation and her career by calling her a liar when he was president. That trial, delayed by Mr. Trump’s arguments that he was protected by his position, is scheduled to begin in January.

Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, said in a statement that her team expected the judge’s decision to result in a quick trial “limited to a narrow set of issues” in January.

“E. Jean Carroll looks forward to obtaining additional compensatory and punitive damages based on the original defamatory statements Donald Trump made in 2019,” she said.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers did not immediately return a request for comment.

Karen Zraick is a breaking news and general assignment reporter. More about Karen Zraick

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