A judge on Monday dismissed Donald Trump’s defamation countersuit against E. Jean Carroll because her allegations that the former president raped her are “substantially true.”
Trump was unanimously found liable in May for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s and for defaming her in 2022 while denying the assault. He was ordered to pay her about $5 million in damages. A few days later, Carroll gave an interview on CNN during which she said, “Oh yes he did, oh yes he did” when asked about the jury’s finding that Trump had not raped her.
Almost two months after that, Trump sued Carroll for her comments. His counterclaim alleged that she had defamed him by saying he raped her when the jury had found he only sexually abused her (which is so much better).
“Ms. Carroll’s statements were substantially true,” Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in his ruling Monday dismissing Trump’s countersuit. “Unlike the jury’s finding on the Penal Law ‘rape’ question, its finding on the sexual abuse question—and specifically its implicit determination that Mr. Trump digitally raped her—is conclusive with respect to this case.”
Kaplan has made clear he will suffer no foolishness from Trump. In mid-July, he rejected Trump’s demand for a new trial. Trump’s lawyers had argued in court documents that the awarded damages were “excessive” because the jury determined Carroll had not been raped and that his assault had not caused her any mental injury.
But Kaplan called Trump’s argument “entirely unpersuasive” and noted that the New York penal law definition of rape is “far narrower” than in common understanding. As a result, not only would Trump not get a new trial, but he is definitely a rapist.
“The finding that Ms. Carroll failed to prove that she was ‘raped’ within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape,’” Kaplan said in his ruling.
Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan (no relation to the judge) lauded Monday’s ruling. “We are pleased that the Court dismissed Donald Trump’s counterclaim. That means that the January 15th jury trial will be limited to a narrow set of issues and shouldn’t take very long to complete,” she said in a statement, referring to Carroll’s second defamation lawsuit against Trump.
“E. Jean Carroll looks forward to obtaining additional compensatory and punitive damages based on the original defamatory statements Donald Trump made in 2019.”
Carroll accused Trump in her 2019 memoir of raping her in the Manhattan Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. She initially sued him twice for defamation: first in 2019, when he said she made up the rape allegation to promote her book, and again in November for posts he made about her on social media. Carroll is not the only woman to accuse Trump of sexual assault, but her first case was the first to make it to a courtroom.
Trump continues to vehemently deny all of the allegations and launched fresh vitriol at Carroll during the disastrous CNN town hall. She amended her second lawsuit, which is still pending, to include those comments.