Judge blasts Trump for ‘futile’ delay tactics in E. Jean Carroll case
NEW YORK — A federal judge on Friday reprimanded former President Donald Trump for using “futile” and relentless delaying tactics in a libel lawsuit and dismissed the former president’s efforts to counter his rape accuser.
Judge Lewis Kaplan’s raunchy remarks came in a ruling rejecting Trump’s attempt to invoke a New York law against frivolous litigation while fighting E. Jean Carroll against him.
The lawsuit filed by the magazine’s reporter claims Trump lied when he denied her rape accusation.
Approving the use of the law would have allowed Trump to sue Carroll for attorney’s fees if he prevailed in the case.
“(Trump’s) litigation tactics, however intended, delayed the case to an extent that could easily have been much less,” Kaplan wrote.
The judge detailed a long list of legal ploys Trump has tried since 2019 when Carroll originally filed his lawsuit and he tried to dodge service at his Manhattan residence and the White House.
“Taken together,” Kaplan wrote, the strategies “strongly suggest that he was acting out of a strong desire to delay any opportunity (Carroll) might have to present his case against him.”
Kaplan added that the relevance of a 78-year-old Carroll being the only witness to the alleged attack “is obvious” when considering why Trump might seek to delay his case.
The anti-SLAPP bill, signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2019, was created by state lawmakers to deter powerful entities from bringing frivolous lawsuits to silence critics.
Ironically, lawmakers said Trump’s propensity to sue critics inspired them to draft it.
His ruling said nothing in the law would contradict Carroll’s claims if they were true and allowing Trump to invoke the law would unduly harm his rape accuser.
“Which I believe is a motive for (Trump’s) position on this motion,” Kaplan wrote.
Kaplan had previously challenged that Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, could cite New York law in her case now that it has been moved to federal court in Manhattan.
Habba said his client was undeterred.
“While we are disappointed with the court’s decision today, we look forward to litigate this action and prove at trial that plaintiff’s claims have absolutely no basis in law or fact,” Habba said.
Attorney Roberta Kaplan said she and Carroll “couldn’t agree more” with the judge’s decision.
Originally filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Carroll’s lawsuit moved to federal court when Trump decided to opt out as a defendant and be represented by the Justice Department, which Kaplan denied.
The case is pending while the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals considers a decisive decision on Trump’s appeal of that ruling.
The magazine’s columnist says Trump defamed her when he called her a liar and “not my type” in response to allegations that he raped her at Bergdorf Goodman’s in the mid-1990s.
Carroll no longer wants to drop Trump in the suit. She just wants a sample of her DNA to compare with the semen on the dress she was wearing during the alleged assault. She says she never washed the dress.