Judge allows E. Jean Carroll to amend defamation case against Trump

A federal judge on Tuesday granted a motion by E. Jean Carroll to file an amended defamation suit against former President Donald Trump seeking at least $10 million, based in part on recent comments Trump made on CNN.

Carroll made the motion for an amended complaint after Trump called her a “whack job” at a CNN town hall in May — the day after she won a $5 million judgment against him in a different civil case that alleged sexual abuse and defamation.

At the CNN event, Trump said, “I never met this woman. I never saw this woman,” and he called her claims “fake” and “made up,” her lawyers said in seeking the amended complaint.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan granted the motion Tuesday, the same day Trump was arrested and pleaded not guilty in Florida to federal charges regarding classified documents.

“We look forward to moving ahead expeditiously on E. Jean Carroll’s remaining claims,” said Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, who is no relation to the judge.

The pending defamation case goes back to 2019, when Carroll, a writer, publicly accused Trump, who was president at the time.

A jury reached the civil verdict and the $5 million judgment last month in a case Carroll filed about comments Trump made as a private citizen.

Carroll said Trump raped her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman department store near his Fifth Avenue home in New York City in 1995 or 1996.

Last month, a New York jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing her and for defamation, but it did not find that the evidence showed Trump raped her.

After the CNN appearance, Carroll’s attorney filed for an amended complaint in the still-pending case seeking new damages.

Trump “doubled down on his prior defamatory statements” on the network, Carroll’s attorneys wrote.

Trump spokesperson Alina Habba said Tuesday her team doesn’t think Carroll should have been able to amend the defamation complaint.

“We maintain that she should not be permitted to retroactively change her legal theory, at the eleventh hour, to avoid the consequences of an adverse finding against her,” Habba said in a statement.

Carroll went public with the allegations against Trump in her 2019 book “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal.”

She then sued Trump, alleging he had defamed her by calling her a liar. The case was tied up on appeal over issues relating to whether Trump could be held liable for comments he made while he was president.

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