A judge rejects Donald Trump’s request to toss out defamation claims by columnist E. Jean Carroll

A federal judge has rejected former President Donald Trump’s request that he dismiss a New York columnist’s defamation claims against him on grounds that he is entitled to absolute presidential immunity

By LARRY NEUMEISTER – Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump’s claims that absolute presidential immunity and free speech rights shield him from the defamation claims of a New York columnist were rejected Thursday by a federal judge.

The writer, E. Jean Carroll, can continue to press claims that Trump owes her at least $10 million in damages for comments he made before and after she won a $5 million sexual abuse and defamation verdict against him last month, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said in a written opinion.

Trump tried to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds that he is entitled to absolute presidential immunity, his statements were not defamatory and that his statements were opinion protected by free speech rights.

Kaplan said Trump surrendered absolute presidential immunity as a defense by failing to assert it years ago when the lawsuit was filed. The lawsuit was delayed until recently as appeals courts considered legal issues surrounding it.

Trump countersued Carroll this week, claiming that she has libeled him by continuing to insist that he raped her even after a jury found otherwise.

After a jury returned its verdict last month in Manhattan federal court, Trump made comments on a CNN town hall that prompted Carroll to assert new defamation claims in a 2020 defamation lawsuit.

The jury award resulted from a sexual abuse and defamation lawsuit filed last November after New York state temporarily enacted a law allowing sexual assault victims to sue for damages resulting from attacks that occurred even decades earlier.

Trump’s claims in the CNN broadcast mirrored statements he made while president in 2019 when Carroll published a memoir in which she claimed Trump raped her in the dressing room of a luxury midtown Manhattan department store in spring 1996.

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