Trump Loses 'Immunity' Bid to End Carroll's Lawsuit

Judge rules attacks on writer have nothing to do with presidential duties
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2023 6:39 AM CDT
Updated Jun 29, 2023 5:50 PM CDT
Trump Sues, Claiming Carroll Falsely Accused Him of Rape
E. Jean Carroll walks out of federal court May 9, 2023, in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
UPDATE Jun 29, 2023 5:50 PM CDT

The argument that "presidential immunity" protects Donald Trump from E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit went nowhere with a federal judge, who forcefully rejected it Thursday. Trump's "personal attacks" on Carroll have no connection to "any official responsibility of the president," US District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in a 46-page opinion. Trump was trying to have Carroll's suit dismissed; the ruling almost ensures that Carroll's second case against the former president, filed after he disparaged her on a CNN town hall, will reach trial, Politico reports.

Jun 28, 2023 6:39 AM CDT

Former President Trump is countersuing E. Jean Carroll for defamation, alleging she falsely accused him of rape last month. Carroll, a former Elle magazine advice columnist, has for years argued Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the early 1990s and ruined her reputation by calling her a liar. A New York jury found Trump liable for defamation and sexual abuse on May 9, but ultimately rejected the claim of rape. The day after the verdict, however, Carroll appeared on CNN, again claiming Trump had raped her, per Reuters. "Oh yes he did," she reportedly said.

On Tuesday, Trump's lawyers countersued Carroll for defamation, claiming she made "false statements with actual malice and ill will," per the BBC. The counterclaim seeks a retraction of Carroll's comments in addition to compensatory and punitive damages. This comes after Carroll amended her original defamation lawsuit against the former president to include comments he made after the jury verdict. Specifically, he called Carroll a "whack job" and claimed her allegations were "made up."

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Carroll's defamation suit, filed in 2019, has been locked up in courts amid debate over whether Trump is immune from liability as he was president when he made the initial comments. Trump is separately appealing the May verdict, which came out of Carroll's second lawsuit. While Trump's lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment, Carroll's lawyer Roberta Kaplan said Tuesday's filing is "nothing more than his latest effort to delay accountability" for the May verdict, which found Trump must pay $5 million in damages. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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