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November 30, 2023

E. Jean Carroll Seeks New Damages From Trump for Comments on CNN

E. Jean Carroll Seeks New Damages From Trump for Comments on CNN

The former president’s repeated denials that he sexually abused Ms. Carroll “show the depth of his malice” and merit heavy damages, her lawyer wrote.

A jury in a civil trial found that Donald J. Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll, attacking her in a department store dressing room decades ago.Credit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

E. Jean Carroll, who this month won $5 million in damages from former President Donald J. Trump, is now seeking a “very substantial” additional amount in response to his insults on a CNN program just a day after she won her sexual abuse and defamation case.

Ms. Carroll’s filing Monday in Manhattan federal court seeks to intensify the financial pain for Mr. Trump. The jury in her civil case found him liable on May 9 for sexual abuse and defamation. It ordered him to pay Ms. Carroll, a former advice columnist and fixture in Manhattan’s media circles, $2 million for the sexual abuse and $3 million for the defamation.

Monday’s filing came in a separate defamation lawsuit that Ms. Carroll filed in 2019 against Mr. Trump, 76, which is before the same judge who presided in the civil trial. That case stemmed from comments Mr. Trump made that year, shortly after Ms. Carroll said that he had raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. The suit has been sidetracked by appeals and is still pending.

In a separate letter to the judge, Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, revealed with little elaboration that Mr. Trump has threatened to sue Ms. Carroll “in retaliation and possibly to seek sanctions.”

On May 10, Mr. Trump, who is seeking to regain the presidency, went on CNN and echoed his earlier denials, calling Ms. Carroll’s account “fake” and a “made-up story.” Despite a photograph showing them together, he claimed again that he had never met Ms. Carroll, 79, called her a “wack job” and said the civil trial was “a rigged deal.”


Monday’s court filing argues Mr. Trump’s statements “show the depth of his malice toward Carroll, since it is hard to imagine defamatory conduct that could possibly be more motivated by hatred, ill will or spite.”

“This conduct supports a very substantial punitive damages award in Carroll’s favor both to punish Trump, to deter him from engaging in further defamation, and to deter others from doing the same,” the filing says.

Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Ms. Kaplan, said in an interview Monday that Mr. Trump’s statements on CNN made pursuing the pending defamation lawsuit all the more important.

“It makes a mockery of the jury verdict and our justice system if he can just keep on repeating the same defamatory statements over and over again,” Ms. Kaplan said.

Mr. Trump continues to fight the jury’s decision. After the verdict, his lawyer Joseph Tacopina filed a notice of appeal.

Alina Habba, another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, said late Monday that no damages were warranted in Ms. Carroll’s 2019 defamation suit, “let alone punitive damages.”

“We intend to vigorously oppose this motion, which we view as nothing more than a desperate, last-ditch effort by Ms. Carroll to upend this case,” Ms. Habba said.

Asked about the reference to a threatened lawsuit by Mr. Trump against Ms. Carroll, Ms. Habba said, “We have been paying attention to the statements made by Ms. Carroll in the press and are considering all options.”

Ms. Carroll, in an extensive interview with The New York Times two days after the verdict, said of Mr. Trump’s CNN comments: “It’s just stupid; it’s just disgusting, vile, foul; it wounds people.”

Her filing asks the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, to let her revise the 2019 defamation lawsuit to include the fact of the verdict as well as Mr. Trump’s post-verdict statements on CNN and others he made about Ms. Carroll on his Truth Social platform.

Ms. Carroll has said that after Mr. Trump raped her in the dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store, she kept the encounter a secret, other than confiding in two close friends. Ms. Carroll first disclosed the episode in a 2019 book excerpt in New York magazine.

At the time, Mr. Trump called Ms. Carroll’s allegation “totally false” and said he could not have raped her because she was not his “type.”

Ms. Carroll filed her 2019 defamation lawsuit based on those comments, and the case has since been tied up in appeals, with Mr. Trump arguing he cannot be sued because he made his statements in his official capacity as president.

Last November, after Mr. Trump — no longer president — posted a statement calling Ms. Carroll’s case “a complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie,” she sued him again for defamation, and also for battery under a New York law that allows adults a one-year window to sue people they say sexually abused them, even if the statute of limitations has long expired.

Because the two suits can be hard to distinguish, they are sometimes referred to in court papers as Carroll I (the 2019 lawsuit) and Carroll II (the 2022 suit).

It was the trial of Carroll II that ended this month when the jury of six men and three women found Mr. Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming Ms. Carroll. The jury did not find Mr. Trump liable for raping Ms. Carroll, as she had long claimed.

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