On Wednesday, a District judge reportedly ruled that a trial is only necessary to ascertain how much former President Trump must pay the writer in damages, giving E. Jean Carroll a partial victory in her defamation action against him.
In a major setback for Trump, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan determined that when Carroll came forward in June 2019 with claims that Trump had sexually assaulted her in the past, he had defamed her by making false statements with actual intent.
In Carroll’s other action against Trump, a jury’s May decision upholding Trump’s liability for the assault itself and defaming Carroll the previous fall is controlling, according to Kaplan.
In light of Kaplan’s decision, the New York trial that is scheduled to start on January 15, the same day as the Iowa Republican primary, will only be used to determine how much Trump owes Carroll in damages.
Trump initially denied Carroll’s account three times when the longtime advice columnist came forward in public, and Carroll is now suing him for defamation.
It included a written statement sent to the media, remarks made by Trump on the South Lawn, and an interview he granted to The Hill at the White House three days after the initial publication of the claim.
Carroll tried Trump in her second lawsuit earlier this year, but the case was delayed by concerns about immunity.
Ultimately, the jury found in favor of Carroll, concluding that Trump had sexually assaulted the venerable advice columnist in a New York City department shop in 1996 and had defamed her in a statement from October 2022 that refuted her account.
Trump is actively appealing Carroll II, the judgment.
Carroll, though, started claiming that the decision automatically holds Trump accountable for her earlier complaint as soon as it was announced.
The judge concurred on Wednesday, finding that the first two in question statements made by Trump were defamatory to Carroll.
Trump’s legal team had argued in court documents that the jury’s finding of his liability was not consistent with the substance of Trump’s statements from 2019.