That decision is a big win for E. Jean Carroll, a magazine columnist who wrote last year that Trump raped her in a New York department store in the mid-1990s. Last November, she sued the president for defamation after he accused her of lying about the incident and sought to collect a DNA sample from him.
Trump’s legal team asked the New York Supreme Court to put the case on hold and argued that a sitting president is immune to any civil lawsuits in state court. But state Justice Verna Saunders rejected that argument, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Trump couldn’t refuse a subpoena for his tax returns on the basis of holding presidential office.
That finding is “applicable to all state court proceedings in which a sitting President is involved, including those involving his or her unofficial/personal conduct,” Saunders wrote in her decision.
Carroll tweeted that she was excited to move forward with her case, which will also allow her to continue seeking Trump’s DNA. She says that she kept the dress she had on when Trump allegedly raped her and that genetic material a lab found on the dress may match his.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said she looks forward to proceeding with the lawsuit, which can now play out in the final months of Trump’s reelection campaign.
“We are now eager to move forward with discovery so that we can prove that Donald Trump defamed E. Jean Carroll when he lied about her in connection with her brave decision to tell the truth about the fact that Donald Trump had sexually assaulted her,” she said in a statement.
After Carroll published her allegations in a memoir last summer, Trump aggressively denied having ever met her, despite the existence of a photo of the two of them together. He has repeatedly accused her of lying and suggested she was working as an agent for the Democratic Party to sabotage his reelection bid — a suggestion Carroll has denied.
Carroll said Elle Magazine, where she worked as a columnist for many years, fired her after Trump began attacking her. The magazine denied the two events were connected.
At least two dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. He has denied all allegations.