Trump tried to fight E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit in court on Tuesday. Here's a rundown of where all the litigation stands.

E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump
E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump  
  • E. Jean Carroll, who alleges Trump raped her, sued him for defamation more than three years ago.

  • Carroll filed a second lawsuit in November, adding a defamation claim and accusing him of battery.

  • Insider breaks down where the litigation between Carroll and Trump stands.

Former President Donald Trump tried to dodge liability in E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit on Tuesday, as his appeal of the case was heard by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, first sued Trump in November 2019, after he loudly denied her rape allegation against him - making degrading comments about her appearance and claiming that she only went public with the accusation to sell her memoir.

But the case has been languishing in the courts ever since the Department of Justice intervened in 2020, arguing that a federal law called the Westfall Act prevents Trump, who's running for president again, from being personally sued in the case.

The case ended up before the DC Court of Appeals on Tuesday because the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was split on whether the Westfall Act applied to Trump, and asked the DC court to weigh in.

While it won't be weeks until the DC Court of Appeals issues its reply, Carroll's litigation against Trump remains active, with a second lawsuit on the docket and the potential for parts of Trump's deposition to be unsealed by the end of the week.

Below, Insider breaks down everything going on with Carroll's lawsuits against Trump right now.

A traumatic meeting in a department store

Carroll first accused Trump of rape in her memoir, which was excerpted ahead of publication by New York Magazine in June 2019.

In the excerpt, Carroll described running into Trump at the Bergdorf Goodman department store sometime in the fall of 1995 or the spring of 1996.

She described her and Trump getting into a lighthearted exchange in the lingerie section before Trump got Carroll into a dressing room, pinned her against a wall, and proceeded to assault her, she wrote. While Carroll didn't actually use the word "rape" in her essay, she later said that accurately described what happened to her.

Carroll never reported the incident to the police but said she told two friends about the alleged assault afterward. She also said she kept the dress she wore that day, which has been analyzed for DNA. Carroll's legal team has requested a sample of Trump's DNA to compare with the analysis of Carroll's dress, but it's unclear from court documents if they've obtained a sample yet.

Carroll's first lawsuit

After her essay was published, Trump denied Carroll's allegation in a series of statements to the press in June 2019, saying Carroll's "not my type," and suggesting that she made the story up to sell her memoir.

Five months later, Carroll sued Trump for defamation, alleging he attacked her reputation by claiming she made the story up.

That lawsuit took a turn a year after it was filed when the Justice Department, headed by then Trump-appointee Attorney General Bill Barr, intervened in the case in an effort to have Trump removed as a defendant and replaced with "USA."

The DOJ's reasoning was that Trump made his comments about Carroll while acting as president, legally protecting him from being sued as an individual for his work as a public servant. When the Biden administration took over, the DOJ continued intervening to try to remove Trump from the case.

Judge Lewis Kaplan denied the DOJ's motion to replace Trump as a defendant in October 2020, but Trump's team appealed the following month. While the Second Circuit Court of Appeals initially ruled in Trump's favor that federal law shielded Trump from being sued personally, the court eventually kicked the issue to the DC Court of Appeals.

Trump also tried and failed to countersue Carroll, but Kaplan blocked that move in March, saying the timing of Trump's effort appeared to be a "bad faith" attempt to delay the proceedings.

What's the latest?

On Thanksgiving Day, Carroll's lawyers filed a second lawsuit against Trump, alleging a second act of defamation for statements he made on October 12, on Truth Social, calling Carroll's allegation "a Hoax and a lie."

That lawsuit also includes a battery claim against Trump for the alleged rape. Previously, Carroll had not been able to sue Trump for the alleged rape itself, because the statute of limitations had expired. But a new New York law, the Adult Survivors Act temporarily allows the filing of sexual assault lawsuits in cases where the statute of limitations had expired.

Trump won't be able to invoke the Westfall Act in Carroll's second lawsuit, which means at least one of her defamation claims will likely move forward.

If the DC Circuit allows Carroll's first lawsuit to proceed, a trial could happen in the next few months. Carroll's lawyers have been petitioning to try both lawsuits at the same time, and a trial date for the first lawsuit has been set for April 10.

On Monday, Judge Kaplan ordered parts of Trump's deposition unsealed after his lawyers failed to object to the unsealing per a previous deadline. Trump's lawyers wrote a letter to the court asking for a three-day extension, which Kaplan accepted. However, if he doesn't buy their argument, part of that deposition could be public by the end of the week.


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