That didn’t take long. Donald Trump is back on the offensive against E. Jean Carroll after a jury found the former president sexually abused and defamed the former magazine columnist.
On Tuesday, Trump filed a counterclaim against Carroll, arguing that Caroll defamed him when she appeared on CNN the morning after she was awarded $5 million in damages from Trump. Carroll was asked about the verdict in the case, which found that Trump did not rape her as she accused.
“Oh, yes he did,” Carroll replied.
The comment has drawn the ire of Trump World, and forms the basis for the counter suit.
Carroll Responds to Donald Trump
Roberta Kaplan, attorney for Carroll, said in a statement, “Donald Trump again argues, contrary to both logic and fact, that he was exonerated by a jury that found that he sexually abused E. Jean Carroll. Kaplan continued, “Trump’s filing is thus nothing more than his latest effort to delay accountability for what a jury has already found to be his defamation of E. Jean Carroll. But whether he likes it or not, that accountability is coming very soon.”
Kaplan’s statement, in advocating for her client, misses the point. Trump has taken issue with Carroll going on CNN and claiming that Trump raped her. A jury found that Trump did not rape Carroll. So, Trump was exonerated of rape, which is the claim in question. That Trump was not exonerated of sexual abuse is not at issue as far as I know. Anyways, I get it. Kaplan needs to push back and Trump is a creep and most people aren’t going to get caught up on specifics, like whether we’re talking about sexual harassment or rape.
The feud continues
Trump and Carroll have been suing each other for years. “The counter claim is the latest legal salvo in a multi-year legal battle between Trump and Carroll,” CNN reported. “Carroll first sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after he denied her allegation that he raped her in the mid-1990s in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman. Trump said he didn’t know Carroll and that she wasn’t his type.”
The 2019 suit has not yet gone to trial. The trial may finally happen next year, “although there are still several legal issues outstanding…Carroll is seeking more than $10 million in damages in that case in part because Trump repeated statements the jury found to be defamatory after the verdict on social media and at a CNN town hall.”
Carroll sued Trump again in 2022, which resulted in the recently concluded trial – the one where Trump was exonerated of rape, but found to have sexually abused Carroll. And now Trump has launched a counter-suit.
Trump has bigger problems
For most people, the back and forth and the seven figure damages with Carroll would problem number one. But Trump has bigger problems. Like the DOJ’s 37-count indictment for Trump’s handling of classified documents. Or the potential DOJ indictment stemming from Trump’s involvement in the January 6th riots. All of this unfolding as Trump seeks reelection in the 2024 presidential election.
One might expect the legal trouble to hinder a presidential candidate’s chances – but Trump seems to thrive off of the controversy, spinning lawsuit and scandal into the perception that he is unjustly targeted.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.