Trump and rape accuser Carroll agree to a single defamation lawsuit
By Jonathan Stamp
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump and E. Jean Carroll have agreed to a single trial over whether Trump defamed the former Elle magazine columnist by denying he married her in the mid-1990s years of raping.
According to a letter filed late Friday in federal court in Manhattan, attorneys for both sides agreed to an April 25 trial to see if the former US president was guilty of criticism of Carroll in June 2019 and past October should be held liable.
Carroll has filed separate lawsuits over these statements, the first of which is scheduled for April 10.
“Because of the overlap of these proceedings, a single trial will cut costs across the board, avoid the risk of conflicting factual decisions or jury confusion, and save court matters,” her attorney Roberta Kaplan wrote.
The proposed timeline requires the approval of US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing both cases and is not related to Roberta Kaplan.
Alina Habba, one of Trump’s attorneys, signed a draft order summarizing the cases. Joseph Tacopina, another Trump attorney, said in an email he found it acceptable too.
A trial would come in the middle of Trump’s campaign for a second term in the White House.
Carroll, 79, has accused Trump of raping her in a dressing room at a Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in late 1995 or early 1996.
She sued her in November 2019 after Trump told a White House reporter that he didn’t know her, that “she wasn’t my type” and that she made up the rape allegation to sell her memoir.
Carroll sued again three years later after Trump called the rape allegations “hoax,” “lie,” “fraud,” and “outright fraud” in a social media post.
The second lawsuit also includes a battery lawsuit under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which allows sex abuse victims to sue their attackers even after statutes of limitations have expired.
A Washington, DC appeals court is deciding whether Trump should be immune from Carroll’s first lawsuit but not her second because he was acting as president when he spoke.
Both sides proposed asking the court on April 17 to postpone any decision until the end of the trial. According to court records, a trial can take five to seven days.
The cases are Carroll v. Trump, US District Court, Southern District of New York, Nos. 20-07311 and 22-10016.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Diane Craft)