Trump launches defamation countersuit against E Jean Carroll

Former president tries to turn tables on woman awarded $5m after jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation.

A woman in sunglasses and a bob haircut steps out of a grey vehicle, while a man in a suit stands to her side
E Jean Carroll arrives at a New York federal court on May 8 for closing arguments in a defamation and rape case against former Republican President Donald Trump [Seth Wenig/AP Photo]

Former US President Donald Trump has filed a defamation lawsuit against E Jean Carroll, a writer whom a jury recently found that Trump sexually abused in the 1990s.

The countersuit, which was filed in a Manhattan federal court late on Tuesday, said that Carroll has continued to accuse Trump of rape even after the jury rejected that claim, instead finding him liable for sexual assault.

Trump’s lawyers Alina Habba and Michael T Madaio wrote that Carroll “made these statements knowing each of them were false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity”.

The countersuit came as Trump, the current frontrunner for the Republican Party presidential nomination, is beset by numerous investigations and lawsuits for a variety of alleged crimes including alleged federal felonies.

Earlier this month, a court cleared the way for Carroll who won $2m for battery and $3m defamation in her May case against Trump, to amend a related defamation claim against the former president because he has continued to deny he sexually assaulted or even knew her after the May verdict. That suit is seeking $10m in damages.

The day after the May ruling, Trump took part in an interview with CNN where he called Carroll a “whack job” with a “fake story”.

Trump’s countersuit focused on comments from Carroll and her lawyer following the May verdict. In a CNN interview, Carroll was asked about the jury’s conclusion that Trump had sexually abused but not raped her and responded “Oh yes he did, oh yes he did.”

The suit also says Carroll told Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina “He did it and you know it,” after the verdict.

In a statement responding to the countersuit, Carroll’s lawyer Robbie Kaplan said that Trump “again argues, contrary to both logic and fact, that he was exonerated by a jury that found that he sexually abused E Jean Carroll by forcibly inserting his fingers into her vagina”.

Trump has a long history of using demeaning rhetoric against women and faced a scandal during his 2016 presidential campaign when an old interview resurfaced in which he said that being famous meant you could “grab them [women] by the p****”.

That tape was played in the Carroll successful defamation trial.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies