(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump was sued for defamation by a journalist who claims he raped her two decades ago in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan.
E. Jean Carroll, who went public with her allegations in June, filed the lawsuit Monday in New York state court in Manhattan, claiming Trump had damaged her reputation with a series of false tweets denying her story.
When Carroll made the claim in an article she wrote for New York magazine, she was working on a book that included an account of the alleged encounter, which she says took place in a deserted dressing room in 1995 or 1996, after she bumped into Trump while shopping. Trump’s tweets suggested Carroll made up the story to attract attention.
Trump “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 complaint says.
Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the lawsuit.
In June, Trump told reporters outside the White House that Carroll’s claim was “a totally false accusation” and said he had “absolutely no idea who she is.” The president also said her book “should be sold in the fiction section.”
“I am filing this lawsuit for every woman who’s been pinched, prodded, cornered, felt-up, pushed against a wall, grabbed, groped, assaulted, and has spoken up only to be shamed, demeaned, disgraced, passed over for promotion, fired, and forgotten,” Carroll said in a statement. “No person in this country should be above the law — including the President.”
In her account, Carroll said that after she ran into Trump they headed to the lingerie section, and that Trump grabbed a bodysuit and said she should try it on. They went into a dressing room together, and once the door closed, she alleges that Trump pushed her against the wall.
“He lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips,” Carroll wrote. “I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again. He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights.”
The lawsuit seeks a court order forcing Trump to retract the statements, as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
The suit is similar to another defamation suit filed in the same court by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, who claims Trump defamed her by denying her allegations of sexual assault.