Trump loses bid to dismiss rape accuser's defamation lawsuit in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A longtime Elle magazine advice columnist may proceed with her lawsuit accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of defamation for denying he raped her approximately 24 years ago in a Manhattan department store, a New York state judge has ruled.

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to the news media before boarding Marine One to depart for travel to Ohio from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

In a decision this week, Justice Doris Ling-Cohan of the state supreme court in Manhattan said Trump failed to show that the judge lacked jurisdiction to hear plaintiff E. Jean Carroll’s claims, or that Carroll’s efforts to gather evidence should be temporarily put on hold.

“Although defendant Trump, through his counsel, claims lack of personal jurisdiction, notably, there is not even a tweet, much less an affidavit by defendant Trump in support of his motion,” the judge wrote.

Lawyers for Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

They had said Trump made his alleged defamatory statements in Washington, D.C., his home since becoming president in January 2017, and therefore could not be sued in New York.

Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll, said in a statement on Thursday: “We look forward to moving ahead in this case and proving that Donald Trump lied when he told the world that he did not rape our client and had not even met her.”

Carroll went public last June with her account of the alleged rape in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman, which she said occurred between the fall of 1995 and spring of 1996.

The account was published in New York magazine, excerpted from her memoir released in July.

Carroll sued over statements Trump made after her account was published, including that she was “totally lying” as part of an effort to boost book sales.

“I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” he told The Hill newspaper in Washington.

Trump has denied accusations by more than a dozen women that he made unwanted sexual advances toward them before entering politics.

One of those women, Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump’s reality television show “The Apprentice,” is also suing him for defamation.

(This story refiles to fix wording in first paragraph)

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler