Trump Maintains Innocence After Being Sued for Defamation by E. Jean Carroll

Already being sued by E. Jean Carroll for defamation, the former president sent out more defamatory messages on his Truth Social account on his way into court. Ms. Carroll seeks $10 million in damages in this case.

Backstory

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Ms. Carroll is an American journalist and author. Before the Trump trials, she was most known for her advice column “Ask E. Jean” in Elle magazine from 1993 through 2019. She later published What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, where she publicly spoke of the sexual assault by Donald Trump in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room.

Adult survivor act

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Hindered by the statute of limitations, Carroll could not sue Trump for the sexual assault in 2019. However, with a change of law in 2022, New York State’s Adult Survivors Act, which provided adult victims of sexual misconduct a one-year window to file suit against alleged abusers for incidents outside this statute of limitations, Carroll had her chance. She took it.

Denial

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When Carroll’s allegations came to the public eye in 2019, Trump vehemently denied having even known Carroll. When the case went to trial, jurors found the former U.S. president liable for sexual abuse and defamation, awarding her $5 million in damages.

Highest platform

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“The thing that really got me about this was, from the White House, he asked if anyone had any information about me, and if they did, to please come forward as soon as possible, because he wanted the world to know what’s really going on—and that people like me should pay dearly,” Carroll told jurors. His ability to reach millions with his lies and slander led Carroll to lose credibility in her work and also instigated threats against her life.

Death threats

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Though Alina Habba, Trump’s lead attorney, was quick to point out that there were no police records for alleged death threats, Carroll’s legal team brought a few examples to court. “I hope you die soon. I hope someone really does attack, rape and murder you,” one message shown in court stated. Another read: “Rape Jean, rape Jean.”

Trump’s involvement

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Habba hoped in lieu of being able to deny her client’s words, she could shed doubt on their influence on the public. She brought out tweets calling Carroll a “joke” and asked, “Wouldn’t you agree that negative tweets are not necessarily tied to President Trump’s statements, Ms. Carroll?” “Some negative tweets are definitely tied to the president’s statement,” Carroll responded on the stand. “And why do you think that?” “Because they follow President Trump and they want to emulate him.”

Second lawsuit

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For the second defamation trial, Judge Kaplan ruled the facts in the evidence from the first trial would be accepted as true. This took away Trump’s legal team’s ability to argue that the sexual assault had happened or that Trump had not defamed her character. The only thing left to decide in this trial was how much the New York businessman owed his victim.

No funny business

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“If Mr. Trump appears at this trial, whether as a witness or otherwise, his recent statements and behavior strongly suggest that he will seek to sow chaos,” Carroll’s attorneys wrote. “Indeed, he may well perceive a benefit in seeking to poison these proceedings, where the only question for the jury is how much more he will have to pay in damages for defaming Ms. Carroll. This Court should make clear from the outset that Mr. Trump is forbidden from engaging in such antics and will suffer consequences if he does so.”

Truth Social

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Though he entered the courtroom without his phone, his Truth Social account was all atwitter with posts about Carroll and the case. Trump continued to deny knowing Carroll, claiming he was wrongfully accused. He called the case “attempted EXTORTION,” “fabricated lies and political shenanigans,” and “unAmerican injustice.”

No stranger to the courtroom

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The Carroll defamation trial is just one of many trials occurring for the former reality TV star. He faces criminal charges for his part in the January 6 insurrection and mishandling of classified documents. A lawsuit threatens his ability to continue doing business in the state of New York based on fraud claims. Several states have cases on the docket to remove his eligibility to run for president in the 2024 elections.

Democrat conspiracy

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Trump, of course, finds all of his legal woes baseless. “My legal issues, every one of them, every one—civil and criminal ones—are all set up by Joe Biden. Crooked Joe Biden,” Trump said in a press conference. “This is something that’s never happened in this country; even when you look at this, this is all about Biden.”

Resigned

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The day before his defamation trial, Joe Tacopina resigned from Trump’s legal team. In a letter to Judge Juan Merchan, the judge in another New York case against Trump, he said, “I write to respectfully inform the Court that my firm, Chad Seigel, and I hereby withdraw as counsel for Defendant Donald J. Trump in this proceeding.” Tacopina was one of the most seasoned attorneys on the legal team that was stretched before losing him.

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