President Donald Trump can’t stall a defamation lawsuit filed by a New York advice columnist who claims he raped her two decades ago, a judge ruled, allowing the two sides to start digging for evidence.
E. Jean Carroll, who went public with her claims last year and sued Trump after he called her a liar, will now seek to depose the president as well as get a DNA test from him to compare with a sample on a dress the author said she wore at the time of the alleged attack.
“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,” her lawyer Roberta Kaplan said in a statement.
Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment, made after regular business hours.
Carroll had argued that Trump’s attempt to stay the case should be denied in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that a sitting president isn’t immune from state court actions — a ruling that cleared the way for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to demand Trump’s taxes and other financial documents.
Trump said Carroll’s case should be treated differently because it’s not a criminal matter, but Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Verna Saunders didn’t buy the argument. In a ruling made public Thursday, she said the Supreme Court’s landmark decision makes no such distinction.
“This court construes the holding in Vance applicable to all state court proceedings in which a sitting president is involved, including those involving his or her unofficial/personal conduct,” the judge wrote. “The application for a stay is denied.”
Trump sought to put Carroll’s suit on hold until an appeals court rules in an earlier case brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, accusing him of sexual assault. In both cases Trump claims he’s protected by presidential immunity from lawsuits in state court. The appeals court in the Zervos case must still rule on the extent of his immunity.
Trump has strongly denied Carroll’s allegation that he raped her in a department-store dressing room.
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