The New York Times Company
E. Jean Carroll publicly shared a secret in June that she had kept largely to herself for more than two decades: Donald Trump, she said, had raped her in the dressing room of an upscale department store in New York City.
President Trump vehemently denied the allegations. He called Carroll a liar, intent on selling a new book. He said he had never met her, despite a photo of the two of them together in the 1980s. He told reporters that he would not have assaulted Carroll because “she’s not my type.”
Now Carroll, a journalist and columnist for Elle Magazine, has sued Trump for defamation, saying in a lawsuit filed in state court Monday that Trump had damaged her reputation and her career when he denied her allegation in June.
His statements about Carroll, the lawsuit said, “are fully consistent with his tried-and-true playbook for responding to credible public reports that he sexually assaulted women.”
Another woman, Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump’s television show “The Apprentice,” has filed a similar lawsuit against the president, saying he defamed her when he called her a liar after she said he had sexually harassed her during a business meeting.
The lawsuits raise the possibility that the president will have to defend his statements in court, and evidence about the truth of the allegations will come out. The two women say they want to hold the president accountable for what they say were false statements, and to get him to retract what he has said.
Carroll said Monday during a phone interview that she was doing this for “every woman who has come forward and was dragged through the mud, ridiculed and called a liar.”
The purpose of the lawsuit is “to demonstrate that even a man as powerful as Trump can be held accountable under the rule of law,” the filing states.
Carroll said in the lawsuit that readers no longer wanted to write to a woman who the president had branded a liar and that her column has received 50% less letters from readers.
Trump’s lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.