Judge Rules Against Trump Attempt To Evade Justice In Defamation Case

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New York federal Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on Friday that a lawsuit from writer E. Jean Carroll over a sexual assault she says Donald Trump perpetrated against her in the 1990s can continue moving forward.

Kaplan ruled on the second round of claims that Carroll filed, which included direct accusations of perpetrating the original assault and another contention the former president is guilty of defamation because of vitriolic comments he made on his alternative social media platform Truth Social in 2022. On the site, Trump again maligned Carroll’s appearance and baselessly tied her revelations to supposed ambitions on her part to boost her book sales. In his failed push to dismiss Carroll’s second case, Trump argued the state law reopening opportunities for adult survivors of sexual assault to bring civil litigation over the incident even if legal deadlines were already reached was somehow unconstitutional, supposedly denying him due process. Kaplan concluded that was nonsense and found the law met the basic, necessary legal standards to stand.

“To suggest that the ASA violates the state due process clause because the legislature supposedly did not describe that injustice to the defendant’s entire satisfaction in a particular paragraph of a particular type of legislative document – itself a dubious premise – is absurd,” Kaplan said, referring to the contested state law. The judge elsewhere in his ruling cited a New York appeals court decision that found a law allowing for legal claims previously limited — like the assault claims Carroll has brought — could stand if it was “a reasonable measure to address an injustice.” The judge observed it was “obvious” whether the state law fit that description. He also discussed how the opportunity of another process for handling civil claims arising from allegations of sexual assault — involving a more quickly filed lawsuit — didn’t block the legal framework under which Carroll is operating.

As reported by Reuters, Kaplan specifically dismissed a contention from Trump that Carroll needed to conclusively show a negative financial impact to move forward in litigation. Predictably, Trump attorney Alina Habba indicated plans for an appeal of Kaplan’s Friday decision. Reports indicate a decision on whether legal protections associated with the presidency apply to comments Trump made in office that Carroll said were defamatory remains forthcoming from a D.C. court. A decision in that dispute wouldn’t directly affect Carroll’s follow-up defamation claims over the comments Trump made on Truth Social.