NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump is doubling down on his legal brawl with E. Jean Carroll, suing the New York author for defamation weeks after a jury held him liable for sexually abusing her.
The former president on Tuesday night filed a counterclaim accusing Carroll of trashing his reputation by publicly accusing him of rape on CNN, despite jurors concluding his actions during the alleged 1996 assault hadn’t gone that far.
Trump “has been the subject of significant harm to his reputation, which, in turn, has yielded an inordinate amount of damages sustained as a result,” according to the filing.
A jury of six men and three women last month found Trump was liable for sexual abuse — and not liable for rape — before awarding Carroll $5 million in damages.
Trump’s court filing Tuesday is a counterclaim in a separate 2019 defamation lawsuit Carroll filed against him that is set to go to trial in January. While Carroll won the first trial, Trump has interpreted the verdict as a victory, of sorts, because of the finding on rape.
Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Trump lawyer had previously been denied court permission to file a counterclaim against Carroll in her defamation case because the request was made too late.
But Trump attorney Alina Habba argues that a new window for filing a counterclaim was opened earlier this month when Carroll was allowed to amend her defamation complaint after winning the battery trial.
Among other things, Carroll amended her complaint to change every “rape” reference to “sexual abuse.” Carroll also revised the complaint to add Trump’s remarks about her at a CNN town hall, where he called her a liar after the trial and accused her fabricating the attack.
When Carroll was asked on CNN a day after the verdict about the jury finding that Trump didn’t rape her, she falsely claimed otherwise, according to the filing.
“Oh yes he did, oh yes he did,” she said, according to the filing, which says that Carroll made the comments “with an intent to significantly and spitefully harm and attack” the former president.
“The interview was on television, social media and multiple internet websites, with the intention of broadcasting and circulating these defamatory statements among a significant portion of the public,” Trump’s lawyers said in the filing.
The case is Carroll v. Trump, 22-cv-10016, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).