Trump seeks to dismiss rape accuser Carroll's second defamation claim
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Donald Trump on Thursday urged a federal judge to throw out the writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation claim in the second of her two lawsuits against the former U.S. president, who she says raped her in the mid-1990s.
In a filing in federal court in Manhattan, Trump said it was "obvious" he was "merely writing" about Carroll's first lawsuit when in an Oct. 12, 2022, social media post he called the rape claim "a Hoax and a lie" and maintained that Carroll was "not my type!"
Trump said his post was "clearly about" and merely repeated his formal response to the first lawsuit, and was therefore covered by "absolute litigation privilege" under New York law, dooming the defamation claim.
"We expect plaintiff ... to quibble with the exactness of the connection and nexus" between the post and lawsuit, but the law "does not require such exactness," Trump said in papers filed by his lawyers.
Carroll's lawsuit also includes a battery claim under New York's Adult Survivors Act, which lets sexual abuse victims sue their attackers even if statutes of limitations have run out.
That claim is not affected by Trump's dismissal request. A trial is scheduled for April 25.
Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll, declined immediate comment.
Carroll, 79, has accused Trump of repeated stalling to prevent trials arising from their alleged encounter in a dressing room at a Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in late 1995 or early 1996.
She first sued Trump for defamation in November 2019, five months after he told a reporter at the White House that he did not know Carroll, that she was not his type, and that she made up the rape claim to sell her memoir.
A Washington appeals court is deciding whether Trump should be immune from Carroll's first lawsuit, but not her second, because he was acting as president when he spoke. Trump left office in January 2021.
The case is Carroll v. Trump, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-10016.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)