Trump Rape Accuser Renews Deposition Push in Defamation Suit

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(Bloomberg) -- New York advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who in 2019 sued Donald Trump for defamation after he denied raping her two decades ago, intends to renew a previously abandoned bid to depose the former president.

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In a letter dated Aug. 8 but filed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, Carroll’s lawyer told US District Judge Lewis Kaplan she would push to depose Trump again because the former president wasn’t cooperating in pre-trial exchange of documents. Carroll had previously said she would rely mainly on documents to speed the case.

The previous decision not to take a deposition was based “on our expectation that document discovery” and written responses to questions would be enough to learn what Trump plans to argue in defense, Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said, but “a deposition now appears to be the only way to do so.”

Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said in a phone call on Tuesday that the former president is “happy and willing to sit for a deposition.”

Read More: ‘Crude’ Trump Words Don’t Justify Defamation Suit, U.S. Says

Habba said in a separate letter to the court that mutually agreed deadlines for responding were ambiguous and nothing had been filed to Carroll late. Habba also disagreed with a claim by Kaplan that Trump was improperly claiming “executive privilege” over some communications Carroll is seeking.

“In addition to protecting communications directly with the President, this privilege similarly protected communications involving senior presidential advisors,” Habba said in the letter dated Aug. 11 and also made public Tuesday.

The case has been moving forward even as the federal appeals court in Manhattan continues to weigh Trump’s argument that the case should be tossed out because his allegedly defamatory remarks were made while he was president and therefore fell within his duties as a government employee. The Biden administration has sided with Trump’s argument, citing laws that protect federal workers from civil suits.

In her letter, Kaplan said Carroll planned to bring new claims under New York’s Adult Survivors Act that would circumvent that argument. The new law, which goes into effect in November, creates a one-year window in which people who were previously victims of sexual assault can bring lawsuits that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations.

Carroll claims Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s.

The case is Carroll v. Trump, 20-cv-07311, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

(Updates with filing by Trump’s lawyer.)

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