Magazine writer E. Jean Carroll has achieved another legal victory against former President Donald Trump as a federal judge in Manhattan dismissed Trump’s counter-suit attempting to sue Carroll for defamation.
The case revolves around Carroll’s accusation against Trump of sexual assault. Carroll had won a $5 million defamation-sex assault verdict against Trump in May.
Trump had counterclaimed that Carroll defamed him by stating on CNN that Trump had not penetrated her with his penis, even after the verdict found Trump civilly liable for sexual battery but not for rape under New York’s penal code.
However, US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the phrase “Yes, he did,” spoken by Carroll, was not defamatory as it accurately reflected that digital penetration constitutes rape in common modern language.
Judge Kaplan cited Carroll’s testimony and the jury’s verdict, which included a $2 million compensation for sexual battery. Carroll’s remaining defamation lawsuit against Trump is scheduled for trial in January, focusing on statements Trump made while he was president.
The lawsuit centers on Trump’s denials of Carroll’s accusations and his characterization of her as a liar. Trump’s owed $5 million is currently held in an escrow account controlled by the federal court system, accruing interest as he continues to appeal the May verdict.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, expressed satisfaction with the dismissal of Trump’s counterclaim, noting that the upcoming trial in January will address a limited set of issues related to defamation.
Carroll is looking forward to obtaining further compensatory and punitive damages based on Trump’s original defamatory statements in 2019. Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, declined to comment on the opinion but acknowledged the small victory for his client concerning certain statements from June 2019.