Trump’s Truth Social Name-Calling Still Part of E. Jean Carroll Defamation Suit, Judge Rules

GettyImages-1186744429-1 - Credit:  Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
GettyImages-1186744429-1 - Credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

A federal judge denied President Trump’s request for a summary judgment against writer E. Jean Carroll’s claim of defamation against him. In his Tuesday ruling, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan gave a written lashing to the former President’s legal arguments.

Carroll has brought forth two lawsuits against Trump, including a civil rape lawsuit based on allegations that the former president sexually assaulted her in the dressing room of a department store in the Nineties. A separate suit argues that Trump defamed Carroll through statements that Trump publicly made about her in the aftermath of the accusation. It’s this suit that Trump sought to have thrown out by Kaplan.

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In his ruling, Kaplan skewered an interpretation of a 2022 Truth Social post from the former president bashing Carroll. Trump’s attorneys argued that the post was not an act of defamation, but merely a summary and/or repetition of “his denials and affirmative defense in relation to Ms. Carroll’s allegations.”

In the post, Trump wrote that Carroll “completely made up a story that I met her at the doors of this crowded New York City Department Store and, within minutes, ‘swooned’ her. It is a Hoax and a lie, just like all the other Hoaxes that have been played on me for the past seven years.” Trump’s lawyers argued that the post constituted a “report of any judicial proceeding,” and should therefore be excluded from the case, and a summary judgment given.

Kaplan wrote in his decision that the post was by no means a report of a judicial proceeding. “Instead, it is an amalgamation of Mr. Trump’s personal views and comments on a wide range of subjects, including the legal system of the United States and of New York, this Court, Ms. Carroll and her rape accusation against him, CNN and its journalist Anderson Cooper, and Ms. Carroll’s counsel,” Kaplan wrote.

The judge argued that a reasonable juror could find that Trump “was complaining of a far broader and more corrosive conspiracy” than anything that was at issue in Carroll’s case. “The Court need not and does not now decide the ultimate issue of whether Mr. Trump’s statement is or is not a ‘fair and true,’” Kaplan concluded. “It suffices for the purpose of denying summary judgment that a reasonable jury could find so as a matter of fact.”

Kaplan has yet to determine if he will combine the defamation case and the civil rape case into a single docket, but the denial means that Carroll’s suit will likely proceed to its scheduled April trial.

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