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NY Columnist Who Accused Trump of Sexual Assault Sues for Defamation

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NY Columnist Who Accused Trump of Sexual Assault Sues for Defamation

2019-11-05 18:17:091 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: E. Jean Carroll (Image source: Screenshot)

It was a time the advice columnist needed some guidance of her own. While shopping at Bergdorf Goodman she was sexually assaulted by a real estate developer. Now she's suing him for defamation after he denied the incident happened and suggesting she was just trying to promote her book.

Not surprisingly, the man in the crosshairs of this MeToo moment is Donald Trump. The writer is New York columnist E. Jean Carroll. 

She published her memoir earlier this year when she included the details of a sexual assault she says was by the hands of Donald Trump.

It was 1995 or 1996, and Trump and Carroll ran into each other at Bergdorf Goodman. They talked and shopped together, and she says he followed by attacking her in a dressing room. After knocking her head against a wall, he pulled down her tights and penetrated her briefly. She pushed him off of her and ran out of the dressing room. 

Trump denied that he'd ever met her.

"I am filing this on behalf of every woman who has ever been harassed, assaulted, silenced, or spoken up only to be shamed, fired, ridiculed, and belittled," she said in a statement. 

"No person in this country should be above the law — including the president."

"Let me get this straight — Ms. Carroll is suing the president for defending himself against false allegations?" White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham asked in a statement. 

"I guess since the book did not make any money she's trying to get paid another way. The story she used to try and sell her trash book never happened, period. Her version of events is not even feasible if you've ever tried on clothing in a dressing room of a crowded department store. The lawsuit is frivolous, and the story is a fraud — just like the author."

But Trump doesn't have history on his side. Just before the 2016 election, the "Access Hollywood" tape came out.  

He could be heard telling host Billy Bush about one woman, "I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I'll admit it," adding, "I did try and f--- her. She was married."

"I moved on her very heavily," he continued. "In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, 'I'll show you where they have some nice furniture.' " adding, "I moved on her like a bitch." 

Then before meeting with a publicist, he said, "I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."

After this tape came out, a small parade of women announced they'd been the victim of his sexual assault. One of those was Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice." She claimed he groped and kissed her in 2007. Her defamation lawsuit is still going through the courts. 

Stormy Daniels sued Trump for defamation as well after he said she'd lied that they'd had an affair, that he'd paid her hush money, and that she'd been threatened. The lawsuit was dismissed last year.

Carroll's allegation is different than the others, though, as it's not alleging groping and/or kissing — she's alleging rape. Yet, the statute of limitations is kicking in since this allegedly happened more than two decades ago, so she can't press criminal charges. 

She claims that shortly after the incident with Trump, she talked to two close friends about it, and they have confirmed her story. She kept quiet and didn't tell anyone else, fearing possible damage to her reputation.

The Elle columnist isn't one of the women who came out publicly against Trump in 2016. It wasn't until the MeToo movement a year later that she decided to tell her story, feeling compelled to speak up after women who had said they were victims of sexual assault or harassment were seeking her advice. 

"Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda," Trump said when Carroll shared her story last June with media outlets when she was releasing her book.

"It is a disgrace and people should pay dearly for such false accusations." He added that she was "totally lying" and "not my type." 

While he also claimed to never have met her, her book includes a photo of the two of them together that she said was at an NBC party around 1987.

"I don't know what type a woman needs to be for him to decide to sexually assault someone, but that kind of gratuitous insult about her appearance is the kind of thing that juries and judges look to," said Roberta Kaplan, Carroll's attorney. 

"It looks like malice."

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