A federal judge has granted E. Jean Carroll’s request to amend her original defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump to include his comments made about her during a CNN town hall last month. The order was made by Judge Lewis Kaplan in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, causing a setback for Trump, who had asked the court to deny Carroll’s effort to update her lawsuit, which now seeks at least $10 million in damages.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, said in a statement that they are happy with the judge’s decision and look forward to moving ahead expeditiously on E. Jean Carroll’s remaining claims. Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said in a statement that they maintain that she should not be allowed to retroactively change her legal theory to avoid the consequences of an adverse finding.
Carroll sought to amend her lawsuit shortly after Trump made disparaging remarks about her during a live town hall on CNN on May 10. Trump said, “What kind of a woman meets somebody and brings them up and within minutes, you’re playing hanky-panky in a dressing room, OK? I swear on my children, which I never do, I have no idea who this woman is. This is a fake story, made-up story.”
The town hall came one day after a jury in a separate civil case found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation against Carroll and ordered him to pay her $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Carroll has accused the former president of raping her in the mid-1990s in a department store and then defaming her after she came forward with her allegations in 2019. She filed a civil defamation lawsuit against him in 2019 and then filed a second civil lawsuit against him in 2022 that also included a charge of battery.
Less than two weeks after the CNN town hall, Carroll’s lawyers asked Judge Kaplan to let her amend her original civil complaint to include Trump’s most recent comments, arguing that “the facts and circumstances have changed.” Trump has denied raping Carroll and has moved to appeal the verdict in Carroll’s second case.
This decision by the federal judge is a significant win for Carroll in her ongoing legal battle against Trump. The amendment to her lawsuit will allow for additional claims against the former president and potentially increase the amount of damages sought. The case highlights the ongoing issue of sexual assault and the challenges that survivors face when seeking justice in the legal system. The decision also reinforces the importance of holding those in positions of power accountable for their actions and words.