E. Jean Carroll shouldn’t be allowed to change her pending defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump because it would “severely and unduly prejudice” him, his lawyers argued Friday.
The “Ask E. Jean” advice columnist should be barred from amending her 2019 defamation suit to add bitter comments Trump made after Carroll won $5 million in her sexual abuse and defamation case May 9, Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba argued in a letter to a Manhattan federal judge.
A lawyer for the 79-year-old writer last week asked the judge to let Carroll update her ongoing case — arguing Trump calling her “a whack job” and her case “a rigged deal” the evening after the verdict is further evidence for heavy punitive damages against him.
But Habba says Carroll’s bid to change her open suit is just an “eleventh hour” attempt to make it fit better with the jury verdict.
Jurors did not find Trump liable for raping Carroll, instead finding him liable for sexually abusing her in a Bergdorf Goodman fitting room in the 1990s and then defaming her when she went public.
“Plainly stated, the jury … found that the alleged rape did not occur,” Habba wrote.
“However, the entire [open case] contains allegations of purported defamatory statements arising from this precise allegation – not a purported sexual assault.”
Carroll’s proposed amended complaint “substitutes every reference of the word ‘rape’ and replaces it with ‘sexual assault’ in a thinly-veiled attempt to conform” the pending case with the concluded case, Habba claims.
Habba said the updated suit “would severely and unduly prejudice” Trump.
Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said last week Trump’s most recent statements against Carroll support “a very substantial punitive damages award in Carroll’s favor both to punish Trump, to deter him from engaging in further defamation, and to deter others from doing the same.”
In the closed case, the jury found Trump defamed Carroll on his social media platform Truth Social in a lengthy post from October 2022 claiming he didn’t know her and calling her claims a “hoax.”
Her open defamation case is seeking damages for statements Trump made while he was in office after she came forward with her allegations in June 2019.
Trump has claimed he has presidential immunity in that case.
Lawyers on both sides didn’t immediately return requests for comment.