A summons for former President Donald Trump has been filed in the new lawsuit from writer E. Jean Carroll accusing him of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s.
The document — which isn’t yet marked in a way to indicate Donald has been served with it — is a routine part of the process of litigation that nonetheless carries significant stakes and marks the whole thing becoming only further serious. If Trump refuses to file any response, then default judgment finding him liable and potentially subject to serious financial penalties could be entered against him. Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones stumbled at the pre-trial stage, refusing to sufficiently comply with demands in what is known as the discovery process, and he subsequently faced default judgments finding him liable for a broad array of serious claims. Recent trials involving Jones have only dealt with the level of financial damages to impose — not his foundational responsibility or lack thereof.
The notice of Carroll’s lawsuit lists Trump’s address as his southern Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. “If you fail to respond, judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint. You also must file your answer or motion with the court,” the doc says. She’s seeking financial damages, as could be expected in a civil proceeding, but she didn’t specify the amount. Instead, among her requests for relief are that the court “Award Carroll compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial” and “Award Carroll punitive and exemplary damages in an amount to be determined at trial.” The case also appears to ask for Trump to eventually be held responsible for legal fees Carroll might incur. Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll who has also represented her in defamation proceedings that are getting consolidated with this case, recently pushed for going to trial early next year, although the former president’s team predictably pushed back on the idea, and it doesn’t seem as though any specific trial date is set so far. (It’s too early for such a thing.)
The new Carroll case specifically accuses Trump of numerous violations of New York law, including first-degree rape. She filed it under the allowances provided by new state rules reopening opportunities for legal action for those otherwise limited by statutes of limitations.
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