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E. Jean Carroll wins partial summary judgment in original 2019 defamation case against Trump

Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — A federal judge in New York on Wednesday granted writer E. Jean Carroll’s motion for partial summary judgment in her 2019 defamation case against former President Donald Trump.

Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, sued Trump in 2019 over allegedly defamatory statements he made while he was president in which he said she was “not my type” while denying that he raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

This past May, Carroll won a related second case accusing Trump of battery and defamation based on a 2022 statement Trump made in which he accused her of lying. Jury members found that Trump did not rape Carroll but sexually abused her, and awarded her a total of $5 million.

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that — based on the outcome in the second case — the next trial, scheduled to begin in January, will only deal with the amount of damages Carroll deserves since the earlier jury already affirmed that Trump did indeed defame her.

“First, it found by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Trump sexually abused Ms. Carroll,” Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in Wednesday’s ruling. “Second it determined by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Trump’s 2022 statement was false.”

“Accordingly, given that the substantive content of Mr. Trump’s 2022 statement, which the jury in Carroll II found to be defamatory, is identical to the substantive content of Mr. Trump’s 2019 statements, the jury’s finding in Carroll II is controlling in this case,” the judge wrote.

Trump is appealing the verdict in the earlier case. After New York magazine published Carroll’s rape accusation in 2019, Trump denied meeting her, accused her of trying to profit from the claim and said she was trying to carry out a political agenda.

“l say it with great respect: No. 1, she’s not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” Trump said on June 24, 2019.

Trump argued any damages awarded in the upcoming trial ought to be limited by the $5 million damage award in the earlier case. The judge rejected that argument, saying, “Mr. Trump’s contention thus mixes apples with oranges.”

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