E. Jean Carroll files a new lawsuit on Thanksgiving accusing Trump of rape

E. Jean Carroll files a new lawsuit on Thanksgiving accusing Trump of rape
E. Jean Carroll (left) and former President Donald Trump (right).Getty/Getty
  • E. Jean Carroll has filed a second lawsuit against former President Donald Trump.
  • The new lawsuit accuses him of battery and a second act of defamation for denying he raped her.

Writer E. Jean Carroll filed a second lawsuit against former President Donald Trump on Thursday, accusing him of battery and defamation.

The second complaint stems from Carroll's allegation that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Carroll filed the suit just after midnight, the moment a new law went into effect allowing her to make the complaint decades after the alleged attack. Writing on her Substack, Carroll said she knew the suit might "ruin" Trump's Thanksgiving.

"The new suit may ruin the former president's Thanksgiving," she wrote, "but it will be nourishing to every woman who's ever been grabbed, groped, harassed, pinched, prodded, assaulted, smeared, or dragged through the mud by a powerful man."

When reached for comment on Thursday, Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, issued a statement, saying "While I respect and admire individuals that come forward, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this Act which creates a terrible precedent running the risk of delegitimizing credibility of actual victims."


Roberta Kaplan, one of Carroll's attorneys, also issued a statement to Insider on Thursday, saying her client "intends to hold Donald Trump accountable not only for defaming her, but also for sexually assaulting her, which he did years ago in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman."

The longtime Elle advice columnist first went public with the story in an excerpt from her memoir published by New York Magazine in June 2019, when Trump was still president.

When Trump loudly denied the story, saying he didn't know Carroll and she wasn't even his "type," Carroll sued him for defamation.

Now Carroll is filing a second lawsuit against Trump for additional comments calling Carroll's story a "Hoax and a lie" in October, and for battery. Carroll previously hadn't been able to sue Trump for the alleged rape itself, because the statue of limitations had expired.

But she now has that power thanks to a New York law that went into effect on Thursday, the same day Carroll filed the suit. For one year, the Adult Survivors Act allows the filing of sexual assault lawsuits in cases where the statute of limitations had expired.


Carroll has said that she ran into Trump sometime in the fall of 1995 or spring of 1996, at the Bergdorf Goodman department store on New York City's Fifth Avenue.

After getting into "playful banter" while helping Trump shop for a girlfriend, the lawsuit says things "took a dark turn" when Trump "forced her up against a dressing room wall, pinned her in place with his shoulder, and raped her."

While Carroll didn't use the word "rape" in her memoir, she later said that accurately described what happened to her.

In the new lawsuit, Carroll's lawyers say the alleged rape caused her "significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological and pecuniary harms, loss of dignity and self-esteem, and invasion of her privacy."

"As a result of the pain and suffering caused by Trump's sexual assault, Carroll has not been able to sustain a romantic relationship since the day Trump raped her. Nor has she engaged in sex with anyone since that time," the lawsuit reads. "Carroll has had difficulty trusting men and cannot maintain an intimate relationship. In Carroll's own words the 'music had stopped' and the 'light had gone out' after Trump attacked her at Bergdorf's."


In a court filing on November 17, Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, asked that the original defamation case and the second complaint be tried together. Accordingly, Kaplan requested that the trial date be pushed from February to April 2023.

In the last year of Trump's presidency, the Department of Justice intervened in the case, arguing that federal law protected him from being sued for comments he made while acting as a public servant. President Joe Biden's DOJ has continued to make this argument.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, for the Southern District of New York, initially ruled in Carroll's favor, saying federal law did not shield Trump. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals initially overturned that ruling, but ultimately passed the case to the DC Court of Appeals, which will rule on the matter after oral arguments in January.