Adult Survivors Act Paves Way for Woman Accusing Trump of Rape to Sue

E. Jean Carroll, a writer who has accused Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her and lying about it, is signaling she’ll sue the former president using a new state law in New York intended to assist survivors of sex crimes.

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, said in a letter made public Tuesday that she intended to file a civil lawsuit against Trump under New York’s Adult Survivors Act (ASA), which allows survivors of sexual violence to sue their alleged abusers regardless of the statute of limitations. The letter is the latest in the legal jousting between Carroll and Trump, whose lawyer objected to the move as prejudicial.

Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, will use the ASA to bring a civil lawsuit against Trump, alleging battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, Kaplan said in the letter. The lawsuit will be brought on November 24, 2022, the soonest the new law allows, Kaplan said.

Signed into law in May by Governor Kathy Hochul, the ASA gives survivors of sexual violence a “one-year lookback window” to sue their alleged abusers regardless of the statute of limitations and when the incident occurred. The legislation was passed by New York lawmakers as part of a broader reckoning over accountability for sexual abusers, and Carroll indicated early she would use the new law.

 E. Jean Carroll at Conference
E. Jean Carroll speaks onstage during the “How to Write Your Own Life” panel at the 2019 Glamour Women Of The Year Summit at Alice Tully Hall on November 10, 2019, in New York City. A lawyer for Carroll says she’ll bring a new lawsuit against former President Donald Trump centering on the allegation that he sexually assaulted the writer decades ago.
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Carroll, in her book excerpted in New York magazine in 2019, accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in the dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City over two decades ago.

Trump responded by calling Carroll “not my type” and saying she had fabricated the story. Carroll, in turn, sued Trump for defamation in what’s become an ongoing federal court case.

Kaplan’s letter announcing the ASA lawsuit against Trump was included in a court filing for the defamation case. She wrote that it made sense to link the two cases, “given the similarities.”

“The allegations in the ASA complaint will be nearly identical to allegations
already contained in (Carroll’s) existing defamation complaint since both cases have at their core the same factual question: namely, did (Trump) sexually assault (Carroll) in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s,” wrote Kaplan.

Kaplan also said Trump’s lawyers have delayed producing documents and responding to her queries in the defamation case. As a result, Kaplan said she would seek a deposition from Trump.

Alina Habba, lawyer for Trump, responded with a letter calling Kaplan’s letter full of “misrepresentations and inflammatory statements.” Habba wrote that she “adamantly objects” to linking the ASA lawsuit with the defamation case, saying the new legal action would be brought after the deadline for Trump’s legal team to produce documents.

“To permit Plaintiff to drastically alter the scope and subject matter of this case at such time would severely prejudice Defendant’s rights,” wrote Habba.

Newsweek has reached out to Kaplan for comment.

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