E Jean Carroll adds post-verdict Trump remarks to defamation case

The columnist is seeking an additional $10m in compensatory damages after Trump doubled down on disparaging claims.

E Jean Carroll entering a courthouse in March 2020.
E Jean Carroll, seen here entering a courthouse in March 2020, was previously awarded $5m when a jury in New York City found former US President Donald Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation [File: Seth Wenig/AP Photo]

E Jean Carroll, the columnist who won a $5m sexual abuse and defamation award against former United States President Donald Trump, is seeking at least $10m more in a new court filing that seeks to hold him liable for remarks he made after the verdict.

An amended lawsuit seeking the $10m in compensatory damages — and more in punitive damages — was filed on Monday in Manhattan by Carroll’s lawyers, who say remarks by Trump in response to her rape allegations so spoiled her reputation that she lost her longtime job as an Elle magazine advice columnist.

In the rewritten lawsuit, they allege that he “doubled down” on derogatory remarks about Carroll at a cable television appearance a day after the verdict.

“Trump’s defamatory statements post-verdict 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,” the lawyers wrote.

“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.”

A nine-person jury two weeks ago decided that Trump had sexually abused Carroll at an upscale Manhattan department store in early spring 1996.

Carroll first revealed her claims that Trump raped her in a dressing room in a 2019 book. She testified about her experiences at trial, and while the jury decided Carroll had not proved she had been raped, it did find that Trump had sexually abused her.

Joe Tacopina, a Trump lawyer, declined to comment on the new claims.

The lawyers filed the new claims by amending a defamation lawsuit that was put on hold as an appeals court decided whether Trump could be held liable for remarks he made in 2019 while he was still president. The US Justice Department has supported his lawyers’ claims that the United States should be substituted as the defendant.

In the new claim, Carroll’s lawyers said Trump, “undeterred by the jury’s verdict, persisted in maliciously defaming Carroll yet again” the next day during a “town hall” event hosted by CNN.

“He doubled down on his prior defamatory statements, asserting to an audience all too ready to cheer him on that ‘I never met this woman. I never saw this woman,'” the lawyers wrote. They pointed to Trump’s repeated denials about the alleged sexual assaults and comments he made calling Carroll a “whack job” and her story a “fake”.

“Those statements resulted in enthusiastic cheers and applause from the audience on live TV.”

Source: The Associated Press