Judge blocks Trump bid to delay suit from woman alleging rape
A New York judge knocked down President Donald Trump’s bid to delay a lawsuit from a woman who accused him of rape, ruling in a decision released Thursday that the presidency doesn’t shield him from the case.
Pointing to a recent US Supreme Court ruling that the president isn’t immune from a New York prosecutor’s criminal investigation, Manhattan judge Verna Saunders said the same principle applies to E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit, in which Mr Trump’s lawyers have argued that the Constitution bars presidents from being dragged into lawsuits in state courts.
“No, it does not,” Saunders wrote.
The decision allows Ms Carroll — who’s seeking Trump’s DNA as potential evidence — to keep pursuing her suit. She says he slurred her in denying her claim that he raped her in the 1990s.
“We are now eager to move forward with discovery so that we can prove that Donald Trump defamed E. Jean Carroll when he lied about her in connection with her brave decision to tell the truth about the fact that Donald Trump had sexually assaulted her,” said her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan.
Email and phone messages were sent to Trump’s lawyers about the ruling.
Ms Carroll, who was a longtime Elle magazine advice columnist until December, went public last year with an allegation that Mr Trump raped her in a Manhattan luxury department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. She said it happened after they ran into each other and bantered about trying on a bodysuit.
Mr Trump said Carroll was “totally lying” to sell a memoir and that he’d never met her, though a 1987 photo showed them and their then-spouses at a social event. He said it just captured a moment when he was standing in a line.
The president’s lawyers have argued the suit shouldn’t proceed at least until New York’s highest court decides – in a separate case – whether an incumbent president is shielded from all state-court suits unrelated to his official duties.