NEW YORK – Lawyers for a former advice columnist who says Donald Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s are fighting his efforts to toss out a lawsuit by reminding a judge of his own ruling in a similar lawsuit against Prince Andrew.
The former president’s lawyers are trying to toss out E. Jean Carroll's lawsuit on the grounds that a temporary New York state law letting adult sex abuse victims sue decades later is invalid. In a submission in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, Lawyers for Carroll wrote that Judge Lewis A. Kaplan should reject Trump's request.
When the law took effect in November, Carroll's attorneys immediately sued. They made the rape claim after an earlier lawsuit Carroll brought against Trump, which asserted a defamation claim. While president, Trump had said the sexual assault never happened and that “she's not my type.” Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, made the rape claim for the first time publicly in a 2019 book.
In both lawsuits, Carroll asserted that a friendly chance encounter between herself and Trump at an upscale Manhattan department store turned violent when Trump cornered her in a dressing room in 1995 or 1996 and raped her.
Kaplan rejected a legal argument that is similar to the one made by Trump's lawyers last January when Prince Andrew's lawyers argued against the constitutionality of a temporary state law letting victims of child sexual abuse make claims years after the statute of limitations would otherwise have prevented the claims.
At the time, Kaplan said the argument that the temporary law was improper had “for good reason" been rejected by every New York state and federal court to have considered it.
Kaplan wrote that the “claim-revival window was a reasonable measure to address an injustice."
Weeks later, Prince Andrew settled the lawsuit, agreeing to donate to the charity of the woman who claimed he had sexually abused her when she was 17 and to declare he never meant to malign her character.
Two weeks ago in seeking dismissal of Carroll's lawsuit, Trump's lawyers wrote that the state's Adult Survivors Act, “well-intentioned as it may be, is a fundamentally flawed law that is unable to withstand constitutional scrutiny."
They said that the law is unlike its predecessor, the Child Victims Act, because it was not narrowly tailored and it “arbitrarily revives long-expired claims without any viable justification under the law."
The lawyers said the law violates the New York State Constitution, was an invasion of due process and a “clear abuse of legislative power."
They also wrote that the state, in enacting the Adult Survivors Act, had provided no reason “why Plaintiff's own neglect or refusal to bring an action within the applicable time period should be construed as an injustice against her." The statute of limitations, they said, expired after five years.