In this file photo taken on January 3, 2020, US President Donald Trump makes a statement on Iran at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida. (AFP/Jim Watson)
President Donald Trump asked a New York judge to throw out an advice columnist’s lawsuit accusing him of defamation after he denied her claim that he raped her in a department store dressing room two decades ago.
E. Jean Carroll, who went public with her allegation against Trump in a June magazine article, can’t sue the president in New York because the statements at issue were all made in Washington, his lawyer said in a New York state court filing Friday.
Trump, who denies assaulting Carroll, said New York courts lack personal jurisdiction over him “even when the purported statements were published to New York readers/listeners, or were directed towards or caused harm to a New York citizen.”
Trump also said Carroll hadn’t served the complaint on him in New York, where the real-estate mogul has long maintained a residence at his signature 5th Avenue skyscraper. Carroll said in an earlier filing that Secret Service agents blocked her attempts to serve the complaint, prompting a judge to rule that she could serve it by mail to the White House.
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Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said Trump is misstating the law around personal jurisdiction to avoid having to turn over documents in the case, which a judge ordered him to start doing.
“When E. Jean’s case was filed, Donald Trump maintained a home in New York, was registered to vote in New York, paid taxes in New York, and had been sued in New York on numerous occasions -- including since 2016 -- without any objection,” Kaplan said in an email. “Tellingly, as his papers make clear, what this motion is really about is a transparent effort to avoid discovery at all costs in a case involving a sexual assault.”
Trump’s filing comes in the wake of former Fox News reporter Courtney Friel’s book release in which she claims Trump called her in 2010 and asked if she would like to visit Trump Tower and kiss him, even though they were both married.
“I was shocked,” she says in the book, “Tonight at 10: Kicking Booze and Breaking News.” “This proposition made it difficult for me to report with a straight face on Trump running for president.”
Friel, who isn’t part of Carroll’s case and hasn’t sued Trump, said it infuriates her that he’d call all women who shared stories of his bold advances liars. “I totally believe them,” she wrote.
About two dozen women have accused Trump of unwanted sexual advances, though the president denies the allegations and says the woman are seeking attention.
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