E. Jean Carroll is photographed, Sunday, June 23, 2019, in New York. 
Craig Ruttle/AP Photo

Following sexual assault allegation, Carroll files suit against Trump

The Rachel Maddow Show, 6/21/19, 9:25 PM ET

E. Jean Carroll alleges past sexual assault by Donald Trump

Ali Velshi lists the fifteen women who have publicly accused Donald Trump of sexual assault and reports the disturbing details of a new accusation from acclaimed writer E. Jean Carroll.
Ali Velshi lists the fifteen women who have publicly accused Donald Trump of sexual assault and reports the disturbing details of a new accusation from acclaimed writer E. Jean Carroll.
E. Jean Carroll spent years as a prominent writer, media figure, and advice columnist, including having hosted a show on America’s Talking, which later became MSNBC. As regular readers may recall, in June, she also joined a long list of women who’ve accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.

Indeed, in a recently published book, Carroll described an alleged encounter in a New York department store in the mid-1990s, which the writer described as a violent sexual assault committed by the future president. Though definitively proving or disproving Caroll’s claim is difficult – there is no security footage to review and no physical evidence to scrutinize – the writer said she confided in two friends shortly after the alleged incident, telling them at the time what she said occurred. Those friends soon after came forward with on-the-record accounts.

The president has denied the claim, arguing, among other things, that his latest accuser is a “liar” who isn’t his “type.” As NBC News reported today, Carroll is now suing Trump for defamation.

The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, alleges that Trump, “through express statements and deliberate implications, accused Carroll of lying about the rape in order to increase book sales, carry out a political agenda, advance a conspiracy with the Democratic Party, and make money.”

“Trump knew that these statements were false; at a bare minimum, he acted with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity,” the complaint said, adding that Trump’s statements “inflicted emotional pain and suffering, they damaged her reputation, and they caused substantial professional harm.”

For her part, the plaintiff said she was “filing this lawsuit for every woman who’s been pinched, prodded, cornered, felt-up, pushed against a wall, grabbed, groped, assaulted, and has spoken up only to be shamed, demeaned, disgraced, passed over for promotions, fired, and forgotten.”

Carroll added, “While I can no longer hold Donald Trump accountable for assaulting me more than twenty years ago, I can hold him accountable for lying about it and I fully intend to do so.”

When the allegations first surfaced over the summer, Trump issued a statement claiming that he’s never met E. Jean Carroll. There is, however, a photograph of the two interacting at an event in the mid-1980s.

The lawsuit coincides with a related case from Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump’s television reality show, which hasn’t gone away, despite the president’s lawyers efforts.

The White House again today denied Carroll’s claims – White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham called the writer a “fraud” – and described the new lawsuit as “frivolous.”

It’s worth noting for context that the public was confronted with a recording from 2005 in which Trump was heard bragging about committing sexual assaults. The Republican said, among other things, that he kisses women he considers attractive – “I don’t even wait,” Trump claimed at the time – which he said he could get away with because of his public profile.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said on the recording. “You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p—y.”

Among the claims raised by Carroll was an allegation, denied by the president, that Trump “forced his fingers around my private area.”