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E. Jean Carroll Wants Trump to Pay for Those CNN Town Hall Remarks

Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Just one day after a New York jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually battering and defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll, awarding her $5 million in damages, he appeared on CNN and attacked her again, calling her a “whack job” with a “made-up story.”

On Monday, Carroll’s lawyers filed to request that those remarks be included in her remaining defamation case against Trump.

The proposed amended lawsuit asks for “very substantial” additional damages, “both to punish Trump, to deter him from engaging in further defamation, and to deter others from doing the same.”

It argues that Trump’s remarks at the CNN town hall, made to “enthusiastic cheers and applause from the audience on live TV,” demonstrate “the depth of his malice toward Carroll, since it is hard to imagine defamatory conduct that could possibly be more motivated by hatred, ill will or spite.”

The amended complaint states that about 3.3 million people watched the town hall on CNN, and that posts began circulating on social media soon after that regurgitated Trump’s “many lies and demeaning remarks” about Carroll on the air.

“These and other similar messages are exactly what Trump intended,” it continues. “Trump used a national platform to demean and mock Carroll. He egged on a laughing audience as he made light of his violent sexual assault, called Carroll names, implied that Carroll was asking to be assaulted, and dismissed the jury’s verdict vindicating Carroll.”

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said in the days that followed the May 10 town hall that Trump’s behavior was “definitely actionable.”

“He is not going to get away with it another time,” she told MSNBC in an interview on May 16. “It’s unprecedented for a person to have been held liable in defamation to keep doing the defamation, so there are not a lot of cases that we can look to for a playbook about how to do it.”

“But, suffice to say, I have a lot of lawyers who are very busy looking into this, and we are weighing all of our options.”

In a brief interview with The New York Times on Monday, Kaplan said, “It makes a mockery of the jury verdict and our justice system if he can just keep on repeating the same defamatory statements over and over again.”

The amended suit, dubbed Carroll I, was first filed in 2019 after Trump furiously denied Carroll’s allegation that he’d raped her in a dressing room of a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s. Trump, who was president at the time, accused Carroll of fabricating the claim to sell her memoir, calling it “a complete con job.”

Carroll filed a second lawsuit against Trump, Carroll II, in late 2022, expanding her claim to battery under the Adult Survivors Act, a New York state law that allows survivors of sexual abuse a one-year window to file lawsuits beyond expired statutes of limitations.

It was Carroll II that resulted in the $5-million decision on May 9, against which Trump has filed an appeal. Carroll I remains ongoing.

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