Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Author and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll last year accused President Donald Trump of raping her in the 1990s.

Author and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll last year accused President Donald Trump of raping her in the 1990s. (Photo: Eva Deitch for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Judge Rules Trump Rape Accuser E. Jean Carroll's Defamation Suit Against President Can Proceed

The decision means the writer's attorneys can continue seeking Trump's DNA as evidence and trying to interview him under oath.

Jessica Corbett

A New York state judge ruled Thursday that a defamation lawsuit filed against President Donald Trump by journalist and columnist E. Jean Carroll—who last year accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s—can proceed while an appeals court weighs a separate, similar case of another woman who has accused the president of sexual assault.

Trump, who has denied both allegations, sought a stay in Carroll's case while awaiting a decision in a suit filed against the president by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on his television show "The Apprentice" who says Trump assaulted her in 2007. The president's lawyers argue he is immune from suits filed in state court while in office.

New York Supreme Court Justice Verna L. Saunders's decision (pdf) Thursday came after another justice on the state court denied Trump's requested dismissal of the case in January.

As the Washington Post reported:

Thursday's ruling means that in the coming weeks and months, Carroll's legal team can press forward with seeking Trump's DNA, which they hope to compare to genetic material on the dress she said she wore during the incident, and with trying to interview Trump under oath. Trump can also seek depositions from Carroll and those she says she told about the incident. Saunders scheduled a telephone conference in the case for September 30.

Carroll and her supporters welcomed Saunders's decision on Twitter:

Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll, told the Post that "we are now eager to move forward with discovery so that we can prove that Donald Trump defamed E. Jean Carroll when he lied about her in connection with her brave decision to tell the truth about the fact that Donald Trump had sexually assaulted her."

Carroll and Zervos are among at least 25 women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault, according to a Business Insider piece from May cataloguing the allegations and Trump's denials. A June 2019 White House statement claimed Carroll's accusation "was created simply to make the president look bad."

In February, Carroll suggested she was dismissed from her longtime job as an advice columnist for Elle magazine because of the president's attacks on her after she accused him of rape, which the magazine's publisher denied. Carroll detailed her accusation against Trump in an excerpt from her book, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, published last year on New York magazine's website.

Carroll wrote in part that while she and Trump were both at the New York City department store Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s, "the moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips. I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again."

"He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights," she continued. "I am astonished by what I'm about to write: I keep laughing. The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway—or completely, I'm not certain—inside me."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Opposing His Renomination, Warren Calls Fed Chair Powell 'A Dangerous Man'

"Your record gives me grave concern," Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Jerome Powell. "Over and over, you have acted to make our banking system less safe."

Jake Johnson ·


Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate Excoriate World Leaders for 'Blah, Blah, Blah' Climate Failures

While Uganda's Nakate said humanity "cannot adapt to extinction," Thunberg from Sweden said lack of action is "a betrayal of all present and future generations."

Andrea Germanos ·


Flotilla Protest at Manchin's Yacht Tells Right-Wing Democrat: 'Don't Sink Our Bill'

"He's not listening to us, he's listening to Big Money. That's why we're here at his yacht in D.C."

Jake Johnson ·


'We Aren't Bluffing': Progressives Hold the Line as Pelosi Moves Ahead With Bipartisan Bill

"If we don't pass our agenda together—that's infrastructure AND paid leave, child care, climate action, and more—then we're leaving millions of working people behind."

Jake Johnson ·


160 Patient Advocates Demand Medicare Negotiation in Build Back Better Package

"We're confident that inclusion of comprehensive drug pricing reforms in the reconciliation package will lower prices, save lives, and ensure continued development of innovative new drugs."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo