E. Jean Carroll won a partial victory in her defamation lawsuit against former President Trump on Wednesday, with the judge ruling a trial is needed only to determine how much Trump must pay the writer in damages.
In a significant blow for Trump, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled Trump defamed Carroll by making false statements with actual malice in June 2019 when she came forward with accusations that Trump sexually assaulted her years earlier.
Kaplan ruled that a jury’s May verdict in Carroll’s other lawsuit against Trump, which found him liable for the assault itself and defaming Carroll last fall, is controlling in the case.
“[T]he jury found that Mr. Trump knew that his statement that Ms. Carroll lied about him sexually assaulting her for improper and ulterior purposes was false or that he acted with reckless disregard to whether it was false,” Kaplan wrote. “Whether Mr. Trump made the 2019 statements with actual malice raises the same issue.”
A trial is set to begin in New York on Jan. 15 — the same day as the Iowa Republican caucus — and Kaplan’s ruling means the trial is only needed to consider how much Trump owes Carroll in damages.
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