Politics

Trump loses bid to dismiss defamation suit by E. Jean Carroll, writer who accused him of rape

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump lost an effort to get a New York judge to dismiss a lawsuit by writer E. Jean Carroll.
  • Carroll sued Trump in November, claiming he defamed her by saying she lied when she said he raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.
  • New York's highest court is set to review whether Trump must face another defamation suit, from former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, who says he groped her in 2007.
E. Jean Carroll visits 'Tell Me Everything' with John Fugelsang the SiriusXM Studios on July 11, 2019 in New York.
Noam Galai | Getty Images

President Donald Trump has lost an effort to get a New York judge to dismiss a lawsuit against him by E. Jean Carroll, the writer who alleges that he raped her in the changing room of a Manhattan luxury department store decades earlier.

Carroll sued Trump in November, claiming he defamed her by saying she lied about the rape and that she was motivated by money and a political agenda to make up the allegation.

Trump earlier this month asked Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Doris Ling-Cohan to toss out Carroll's lawsuit, arguing that because he made those statements about her while in Washington, D.C., and not in New York state, he could not be sued for them in a New York court.

Ling-Cohan, in a ruling released Thursday, rejected that argument, saying Trump's lawyer Laurence Rosen failed to offer evidence that the president was not subject to the jurisdiction of the New York court.

"Although defendant Trump, through his counsel, claims lack of personal jurisdiction, notably, there is not even a tweet, much less an affidavit, by defendant Trump in support of his motion," Ling-Cohan wrote.

Instead, the judge noted, Trump's attorney merely argued that Ling-Cohan should "take judicial notice that the President of the United States has resided in the United States for the past three years."

In her ruling, Ling-Cohan also rejected Trump's effort to postpone discovery in the case.

That will allow Carroll to seek evidence from Trump and his testimony in response to her suit.

"WE MOVE AHEAD!" Carroll wrote on Twitter, crowing that Ling-Cohan "DENIES @realDonaldTrump's lame effort to get suit tossed."

Carroll's lawyer Robbie Kaplan said, "We are pleased, yet unsurprised, that the Court refused to tolerate Donald Trump's latest attempt to avoid discovery in our client's case."

"We look forward to moving ahead and proving that Donald Trump lied when he told the world that he did not rape our client and had not even met her," Kaplan said.

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Trump's lawyer Rosen did not immediately return a request for comment by CNBC.

Carroll went public with her allegation about Trump in June in a book and New York magazine article, which says he attacked her in Bergdorf Goodman in late 1995 or early 1996 after encountering her there.

"Decades ago, the now President of the United States raped me," Carroll, 75, said when she filed her suit.

"When I had the courage to speak out about the attack, he defamed my character, accused me of lying for personal gain, even insulted my appearance. No woman should have to face this."

In addition to Carroll's suit, Trump faces another defamation claim in New York, one filed by Summer Zervos, who had been a contestant on Trump's TV show "The Apprentice."

Zervos sued Trump in 2017 after he denied her allegations that he groped her in a Beverly Hills, California, hotel room in 2007 by saying that she and other women who have made similar claims about him were liars.

Last March, an appeals court in a 3-2 decision rejected Trump's bid to dismiss Zervos' suit on the grounds that he is immune from such claims while in office.

New York's Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, earlier this week said it will review that lower appeals panel's decision.