Author E Jean Carroll who alleges that former US President Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s has filed a new lawsuit against him. The lawsuit has been filed after the introduction of the new Adult Survivors Act, which was introduced in New York on Thursday 24 November.
While the statute of limitations would normally prevent accusers from bringing action against alleged perpetrators, the new law now allows for these suits to be brought forward.
Carroll, who currently has a pending defamation lawsuit against Trump, has brought a battery claim under the act alleging he raped her 27 years ago inside a luxury New York department store’s dressing room. The author first made the claims in 2019 in a book titled ‘What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal’. She has also made a new defamation claim based on statements Trump made last month.
Trump, who has recently launched a presidential bid for 2024, has denied all allegations against him, labelling them as “fiction”. Previously he said that the incident could never have happened as Ms Carroll was “not my type”.
It comes as Trump was recently subpoenaed by the January 6 Committee to give evidence in the investigation into the 2021 Capitol riots, while also losing a bid to block a Democratic committee from requesting to review his tax records.
What is E Jean Carroll alleging?
In the lawsuit she is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages saying she suffered “significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological harm, loss of dignity and invasion of her privacy”.
Carroll alleges she was raped by the former president in the dressing room of a department store in the mid 1990s. She already has a defamation lawsuit ongoing against Trump for his comments in which he said Carroll’s allegations were “fiction”.
This has been placed into the appeal process as judges consider whether the former president is protected from legal claims on comments he made as US leader. A civil trial for this case is expected to be heard on 6 February 2023.
Carroll had been unable to file a lawsuit over the rape allegation as state law prevented her from doing so due to the statue of limitations. However, the newly introduced Adults Survivors Act has now enabled her to file.
What has Trump said about the lawsuit?
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, dismissed the claims and told the Associated Press: “While I respect and admire individuals that come forward, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this Act which creates a terrible precedent and runs the risk of delegitimising the credibility of actual victims.”
What is the Adult Survivors Act?
The Adult Survivors Act is a newly introduced piece of legislation in New York which does allow historical victims of sexual assault to file lawsuits if the state of limitations has lapsed in their case. The law will only allow victims to file for the next year, with the normal statutes being reintroduced this time next year.
The Adult Survivors Act is a successor to the Child Abuse Act, which was introduced in 2019 in the state. This law allowed for victims of abuse when they were a child to file a lawsuit as an adult against an individual or organisation, with around 11,000 lawsuits filed against institutions such as churches and hospitals.
The newly introduced law is expected to open the door for thousands of lawsuits to be filed against historic complaints. Campaigners have praised the act for allowing those who have not had any legal routes to file due to the statute of limitations an opportunity to come forward.