President Donald Trump just got hit with a defamation lawsuit from E. Jean Carroll, the longtime columnist who accused him of sexual assault in a viral New York Magazine cover story about “hideous men” this past June.
Carroll argued in a lawsuit filed Monday morning in New York State court that the president defamed her when he said Carroll was making up “false stories of assault.” She had written a detailed account of an alleged attack by Trump in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in midtown Manhattan in 1995 or 1996.
“I am filing this on behalf of every woman who has ever been harassed, assaulted, silenced, or spoken up only to be shamed, fired, ridiculed and belittled,” Carroll said in a statement to the Washington Post Monday after she filed her lawsuit.
In the New York Magazine article, Carroll said she ran into Trump at the New York City department store one day in the mid-'90s, when he was a socialite and real-estate mogul. Carroll said Trump asked for her help finding a present for a woman, and they browsed the lingerie department together, joking about whether either one of them would try on a lace bodysuit. Carroll thought it would be funny if Trump put one on over his pants, she wrote in June. But in the dressing room, she said he pushed her into a wall, kissed her, pulled down her tights, and put his penis inside her. She said she pushed him off and ran away, and later told two friends about the assault. She never reported it to the police.
Carroll’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for her defamation claims.
Trump denied even knowing Carroll after the New York Magazine cover story, although there are pictures of the two of them together. Trump has also broadly denied allegations of unwanted sexual contact or assault from at least 22 women who have made accusations against him in recent years. After Carroll’s allegations were made public, Trump declared the New York Magazine story “fake news” and said Carroll is “not my type.”
The White House doubled down on accusing Carroll of lying after her lawsuit was made public Monday.
"Let me get this straight: Ms. Carroll is suing the president for defending himself against false allegations? I guess since the book did not make any money, she's trying to get paid another way," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement to CNN, referring to the fact that the June New York Magazine article was an excerpt from Carroll’s book. “The story she used to try and sell her trash book never happened, period.”
Cover: In this June 23, 2019 file photo, E. Jean Carroll is photographed in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)