An advice columnist who accused Donald Trump of raping her in a New York City department store dressing room in the 1990s has sued him, saying he defamed her by calling her a liar who he had never even met.
E Jean Carroll’s lawsuit, filed in New York, says the US president “smeared her integrity, honesty and dignity – all in the national press” when he responded to her allegations, first broached in a New York magazine article in June.
“Nobody is entitled to conceal acts of sexual assault behind a wall of defamatory falsehoods and deflections,” Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan wrote in the suit.
Ms Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, is among more than a dozen women who have accused Mr Trump of sexual misconduct or sexual assault or both, pre-dating his presidency.
She is not the only one to sue over his denials. A case filed by Summer Zervos, a one-time contestant on his former reality show The Apprentice, is ongoing in the Manhattan court where Ms Carroll has filed her claim.
In Ms Zervos’s case, Mr Trump’s lawyers have said his statements were not defamatory, and they have tried unsuccessfully to get the suit dismissed or at least delayed until he is no longer in office.
Ms Carroll says she bumped into the then-property developer in the high-end store Bergdorf Goodman in 1995 or 1996, and he asked her to help him pick a gift for “a girl” and eventually suggested lingerie.
He suggested Ms Carroll try on a see-through bodysuit, she said, and after a joking exchange, they went into a dressing room.
She says he then pushed her against a wall, pulled down her tights and raped her as she struggled, eventually broke free and fled.
Ms Carroll said there were no attendants in the dressing room area. She did not file a police report but said she told two journalist friends. Both have corroborated that they were told.
Mr Trump said in June that Ms Carroll was “totally lying”, termed the accusation “fake news” and called her “not my type”.
He also said he had never met her, although a 1987 photo shows him and Ms Carroll in a photo with their spouses at the time.
The suit says Mr Trump harmed Ms Carroll’s reputation and career. It seeks unspecified damages.