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E. Jean Carroll to sue Trump in civil court for sexual assault

Taking advantage of a one-year window opened by New York state legislation, writer E. Jean Carroll will file a civil lawsuit against Donald Trump for sexually assaulting her during the 1990s in a department store dressing room, the New York Times reports.

Under the Adult Survivors Act, signed into law by Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul in May, gave survivors of sexual assault who were 18 years old or older at the time of the attack a one year window starting November 24th to file a civil lawsuit, regardless of if the statute of limitations has expired.  The law mirrors a similar state law that allows people who were minors at the time of a sexual assault to sue individuals and institutions for the abuse up until the victim’s 55th birthday.

Carroll is currently in the midst of a defamation suit against Trump, who called her a liar with psychological problems after she went public with an accusation that Trump raped her in a dressing room of New York department store Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s.  Carroll has the clothing she wore during the attack and has filed a motion for Trump to turn over a DNA sample to match to a stain on the dress.

While Trump was in the White House, then-Attorney General Bill Barr claimed Trump’s defamatory statements against Carroll could not be used as a basis for a lawsuit because Trump said them while president.  That claim did not fly with the court:  “His comments concerned an alleged sexual assault that took place several decades before he took office, and the allegations have no relationship to the official business of the United States,” Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York wrote.

Carroll is petitioning the court to join the defamation case and the civil sexual assault suit together in a case scheduled to start in February 2023.

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