Trump suffers loss in second E Jean Carroll defamation case

Writer E Jean Carroll
A trial in January will be the second defamation case between Donald Trump and E Jean Carroll

A federal judge has ruled Donald Trump is liable for defamatory comments he made in 2019 about writer E Jean Carroll.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on Wednesday that Ms Carroll's second civil defamation trial against Mr Trump will be limited to determining damages.

Ms Carroll accused Mr Trump of raping her at a department store in the 1990s.

The former president goes to trial in January against Ms Carroll over comments he made about her allegations.

In a statement on Wednesday, lawyers for Mr Trump said they "remain very confident that the Carroll II verdict will be overturned on appeal, which will render this decision moot".

Ms Carroll first came forward with the sexual assault claims in a New York Magazine article in 2019.

Mr Trump then denied the allegations, and Ms Carroll filed her first defamation suit against him that November, claiming he damaged her reputation and caused her emotional harm.

This case is separate from a civil trial in May, where a New York jury found the former president sexually abused Ms Carroll, though he was found not liable for raping her in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman.

That jury also found Mr Trump liable for defamation for calling the magazine writer's accusations "a hoax and a lie".

Mr Trump was ordered to pay Ms Carroll $5m (£4m) as a part of that New York civil lawsuit.

On Wednesday, in a 25-page decision in the second defamation case, Judge Kaplan argued that the May verdict established that Mr Trump made statements about the assault with "actual malice".

The ruling means this upcoming second defamation case will focus solely on how much Mr Trump should pay Ms Carroll for making the comments.

Typically, it would be up to a jury to decide whether a defendant is liable for damages.

The trial is scheduled for 15 January, 2024.

Lawyers for Ms Carroll said in a statement they "look forward" to the trial limited to damages.

Mr Trump is appealing the jury's verdict in the May decision against him and has requested a new trial, which is still pending.

He has denied allegations that he raped Ms Carroll, claiming he had never met the former Elle Magazine columnist and that she made up the story to sell copies of her book.

The former president is also facing a series of other legal woes, including both state and federal charges related to his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election results and his handling of classified documents.