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E. Jean Carroll aims to expand defamation lawsuit against Trump, seeking $10 million

Writer E. Jean Carroll leaves a Manhattan courthouse earlier this month after a jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.
Spencer Platt
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Writer E. Jean Carroll leaves a Manhattan courthouse earlier this month after a jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.

On the heels of a jury verdict that awarded $5 million to advice columnist E. Jean Carroll over her claim that former President Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s, Carroll has asked a court to expand the scope of a separate lawsuit against Trump, seeking at least an additional $10 million in damages.

In a set of court filings on Monday, lawyers representing Carroll proposed a set of amendments to her original lawsuit to add information about the verdict, along with a transcript of Trump's remarks at a CNN "town hall" broadcast on May 10, the day after the jury's decision in the other case.

"I never met this woman. I never saw this woman," Trump said on CNN. He called Carroll's story "fake" and "made up," and he referred to Carroll as a "whack job."

Carroll's lawsuits both center on an incident she says took place in the spring of 1996 at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan. A chance encounter between the two went from flirty to traumatizing when Trump led her to a dressing room and sexually assaulted her, she says.

Carroll first made the allegations public in the summer of 2019 with the publication of her memoir What Do We Need Men For: A Modest Proposal.

In the days that followed, Trump strenuously denied the claims. He denied knowing Carroll, called her story a "totally false accusation" and said she had invented it in order to sell more copies of her book.

In November 2019, Carroll filed her first lawsuit, accusing Trump of defamation. The lawsuit has since been tied up in federal court over the question of whether Trump can be sued over statements made while he was president. The proposed amendments filed this week seek to modify this first lawsuit, which had originally sought an unspecified amount in damages.

With the first lawsuit unresolved, Carroll filed a second lawsuit in November 2022, after the state of New York temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for survivors of sexual assault to file civil claims. That suit accused Trump of battery along with a separate defamation claim over denials he made in October 2022.

The trial for this second lawsuit began in April. Carroll spent three days on the witness stand testifying in detail about the encounter. Trump did not appear in court, and his defense team called no witnesses.

While the nine jurors stopped short of holding Trump liable for "rape," they agreed unanimously that he had "sexually abused" Carroll and that he had defamed her with his October 2022 statement. Carroll was awarded $2 million for the sexual abuse and $3 million for the defamation.

Trump continues to deny the claims and has appealed that verdict.

In a separate letter to the judge overseeing the cases, Carroll attorney Roberta Kaplan said that Trump has "threatened to file a separate case against E. Jean Carroll in retaliation and possibly to seek sanctions."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Becky Sullivan has reported and produced for NPR since 2011 with a focus on hard news and breaking stories. She has been on the ground to cover natural disasters, disease outbreaks, elections and protests, delivering stories to both broadcast and digital platforms.
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