E. Jean Carroll, the journalist who claims she was raped by Donald Trump decades ago in a New York department store, is planning to sue him for sexual battery under the state’s new “survivors” law later this year—and her attorneys now want to question Trump under oath.
In an August letter to a New York federal judge that was just made public Tuesday, Carroll’s lawyer notified the court that severe legal action was on the horizon.
The issue was brought up in court filings related to Carroll’s current lawsuit against the former president. She sued Trump while he was still at the White House, claiming she was defamed when Trump said the journalist’s revelations in her memoir were lies, adding a piggish line about how “she's not my type.”
Although the underlying accusations deal with sexual assault claims against the real estate billionaire, the nature of the legal dispute wasn't primed to go after Trump for the actual alleged assault.
Roberta A. Kaplan, the journalist’s lawyer, explained in her letter to the judge that Carroll is now preparing to file a separate lawsuit under New York’s Adult Survivors Act “on the earliest possible date,” which is Nov. 24.
Kaplan also explained that Trump—as he has done in nearly every court case of late—is refusing to turn over court-mandated evidence.
Trump “remains unwilling to produce any documents in discovery,” not “a single document,” Kaplan wrote.
That's why, she said, Trump should be dragged into a room for a deposition that will question him under oath—an embarrassing exercise that could elicit damning information from the former president. And given that it's a civil case, any question Trump refuses to answer can be interpreted in the worst light possible—even as an admission.
Kaplan’s letter was written to another Kaplan: U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is overseeing the defamation case and had previously instructed both parties to share information with each other. (There is no known relation between the two.)
In a pithy response on Aug. 11, Trump lawyer Alina Habba accused Carroll’s lawyer of misleading the judge in the way she “repeatedly mischaracterizes the discovery efforts that have been undertaken by the parties to date.”
“Indeed, the letter contains numerous misstatements which are seemingly intended to make it appear as if [Trump] is not complying with his discovery obligations,” Habba wrote. “This is simply not the case.”
However, Habba’s letter revealed that—once again—Trump is hiding behind the presidential seal and waiving around expired credentials to keep evidence out of the public’s hands. Habba defended Trump’s use of “executive privilege” to prevent Carroll from obtaining some documents related to the way he verbally attacked her character while he was at the White House.
Carroll’s next lawsuit could have a dramatically different—and more serious—result than the current defamation case.
In the current legal fight, Trump managed to employ the Department of Justice to defend him, leaving taxpayers on the hook for what was clearly a personal battle. However, any lawsuit under New York’s rape survivor law would target him directly while he’s no longer in office.