A court decided on Wednesday that former president Donald Trump must testify under oath in a defamation case filed by a writer who claims he sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s.
The scheduled testimony was not postponed, as requested by Trump’s attorneys, according to U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. The current date for the deposition is October 19.
The verdict was reached in a complaint filed by E. Jean Carroll, a longstanding Elle advice writer who claims Trump sexually assaulted her in a changing room of a high-end Manhattan department shop. Trump refuted it. Carroll will be removed from office on Friday.
“We look forward to putting on the record that this complaint is, and always has been, utterly without substance,” said Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, in a statement.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, expressed satisfaction with the decision and said she was eager to file the additional claims the following month “and go ahead to trial with all speed.”
Judge Kaplan stated that it was time to go ahead, particularly considering the “old age” of Carroll, 78, and Trump, 76, as well as possible additional witnesses. Trump’s legal team has used a number of legal strategies to postpone the case and prevent him from being questioned by Carroll’s lawyers.
He argued that “the defendant should not be allowed to run the clock out on the plaintiff’s effort to get a remedy for what purportedly constituted a grievous injustice.”
Carroll’s complaint claims that Trump’s denial of raping her in 2019 harmed her reputation. The Republican presidential candidate’s legal team has been attempting to end the lawsuit by claiming that when he refuted the charges, particularly when he labeled his accuser as “not my type,” the president was only carrying out his duties.
The U.S. government would be the defendant in the lawsuit if Trump was operating in accordance with his obligations as a federal employee, so that makes it important to know the answer to that issue.
When Trump responded to Carroll’s allegations, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 vote last month that he was a government employee. But it requested a different Washington court to rule on whether Trump’s public remarks happened while he was working.
The judge, Kaplan, said that Trump has frequently attempted to stall the gathering of evidence for the case.
“Mr. Trump’s attitude about the costs of discovery is reprehensible given his behavior so far in this matter,” he wrote. As the court has already noted, Mr. Trump has fought this matter since it started in 2019 with the effect of prolonging it and undoubtedly with the intention of doing so.
Except for Trump and Carroll’s depositions, the court said that the gathering of evidence for the case to proceed to trial was almost complete.
“Mr. Trump has extensively investigated the plaintiff, but has produced almost nothing himself,” Kaplan said. “Completing these depositions — which have already been postponed for years — would not burden Mr. Trump excessively or do him irreparable harm.”
The court also noted that the deposition would be helpful when Carroll’s attorney files a fresh case the following month in accordance with New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which permits her to seek damages for the claimed rape without being barred by the statute of limitations.
According to the court, the defamation accusations and the upcoming new litigation both hinge on whether the rape really took place.