Judge Lets E. Jean Carroll Seek More Damages Against Trump In Defamation Lawsuit

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Jun 14, 2023 - 12:45 PM

Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times,

A federal judge on Tuesday approved a request from E. Jean Carroll to amend the first of her two defamation lawsuits against former President Donald Trump to include comments Trump made about her at a recent televised CNN town hall event.

Carroll, a former magazine columnist, in late May asked to amend the pending defamation lawsuit, filed in November 2019, so she could seek further punitive damages against Trump. The suit is now seeking $10 million in compensatory damages.

“We look forward to moving ahead expeditiously on E. Jean Carroll’s remaining claims,” Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, said in a statement after the amendment was approved.

Carroll had won $5 million on May 9 in her second defamation lawsuit—about $3 million for a defamation charge and about $2 million for a civil battery charge. The defamation charge was related to a statement Trump made on Truth Social in October 2022. In the civil battery charge, jurors determined that Trump, now 76, had sexually abused, but did not rape, Carroll, 79.

Trump appeared at a town hall event on CNN on May 10—just a day after the verdict—where he called Carroll a “whack job” and said her claims against him were fake. Carroll in 2019 had accused Trump of having raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in 1995 or 1996.

Up until Carroll’s request to amend her complaint, her first lawsuit had been put on hold as an appeals court was deciding whether Trump was immune from being sued for remarks he made in 2019 when he was president.

Trump Lawyers’ Opposition to Carroll’s Motion to Amend

Lawyers for Carroll in the motion to amend had accused Trump of having “doubled down” on derogatory remarks about her.

“Trump’s defamatory statements post-verdict show the depth of his malice toward Carroll since it is hard to imagine defamatory conduct that could possibly be more motivated by hatred, ill will, or spite,” the lawyers wrote in the complaint, filed on May 22 (pdf).

“This conduct supports a very substantial punitive damages award in Carroll’s favor both to punish Trump, to deter him from engaging in further defamation, and to deter others from doing the same.”

Writer E. Jean Carroll leaves a Manhattan court house after a jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s on May 09, 2023, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In response, lawyers for Trump on June 5 contended in a memorandum of law (pdf) that Carroll’s motion was “futile” since his comments made at the CNN town hall were “safeguarded by the fair reporting privilege, which consequently prevents them from being used as a foundation to enhance the punitive damages sought by [Carroll] in this case.”

The lawyers were referring to the absolute privilege under Section 74 of the New York Civil Rights Law. It states: “a civil action cannot be maintained against any person, firm or corporation, for the publication of a fair and true report of any judicial proceeding, legislative proceeding or other official proceeding, or for any heading of the report which is a fair and true headnote of the statement published.”

The lawyers said that Trump was addressing a specific question about the jury’s decision on May 9 in Carroll’s second defamation case against him.

“[Trump] neither denied nor misrepresented the jury’s verdict but merely voiced his disagreement with the finding and restated his position—which he had asserted throughout the duration of the proceedings—that the claimed event never happened,” Trump’s legal team wrote.

“The average listener would have had no difficulty ascertaining that the comments were made in response to, and in connection with [Carroll’s second defamation case].”

Former President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks to the Georgia state GOP convention at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center in Columbus, Ga., on June 10, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Trump Pleads Not Guilty in Separate Historic Federal Case

The federal judge’s decision Tuesday comes as Trump pleaded not guilty in a federal court in Miami in a separate, historic federal case brought by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith.

Trump, the 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner, faces 37 felony charges related to his handling of classified government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida after he left office.

Trump and his supporters have slammed the charges as politically motivated.

Later on Tuesday, in a speech delivered in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump shared the legal defense his team is likely to take against the indictment he’s facing.