Longtime advice columnist E. Jean Carroll filed a lawsuit against President Trump Monday, accusing him of defamation over his response to her allegation that he raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s.
Carroll first came forward with the assault allegations in an excerpt from her book which was published by New York Magazine in June. Trump not only denied that it happened, he claimed he “never met this person in my life” and accused her of being motivated by “trying to sell a new book.”
“No one, not even the President, is above the law,” Carroll said in a statement. “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.”
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham called the lawsuit “frivolous” in response.
“Let me get this straight – Ms. Carroll is suing the President for defending himself against false allegations? I guess since the book did not make any money she’s trying to get paid another way. The story she used to try and sell her trash book never happened, period,” she said in a statement.
After Carroll first came forward with the rape allegation, the president issued a lengthy statement, saying, “shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda.” The statement went on to seek information regarding whether the Democratic Party was working with Carroll or the magazine, and said “people should pay dearly for such false accusations.”
The lawsuit hits back at these claims.
“Through express statements and deliberate implications, he 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,” the lawsuit says. “Each of these statements was false. Each of them was defamatory,” it continues.
While the president said he had never met Carroll before, the New York Magazine article containing the excerpt that was posted online included a photo of Trump with his then-wife Ivana Trump talking with Carroll and her husband at a party.
Carroll claims that as a result of Trump’s statements she suffered emotional pain, as well as reputational and professional harm. She is seeking a retraction of the statements from Trump, as well as unspecified monetary damages.
Trump is currently facing a similar lawsuit from former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, who accused him of sexual assault in 2007. Zervos sued the president after he accused her and other women of lying for alleging that he engaged in sexual misconduct. That case is ongoing, after Trump failed in a bid to get it tossed when he claimed the New York State court did not have jurisdiction over a sitting president.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.