Trump questioned in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit. What we know about the case. – USA TODAY

Former President Donald Trump was questioned Wednesday, under oath, in a defamation lawsuit filed against him in 2019 by E. Jean Carroll, said Zak Sawyer, a spokesman for the law firm representing Carroll.
Carroll is the journalist, author and former advice columnist for Elle magazine who has accused Trump of raping her in a New York City department store more than two decades ago – an allegation Trump has denied.En
The legal questioning of Trump, which his lawyers long battled to avoid, was expected to take place at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.
“We’re pleased that on behalf of our client, E. Jean Carroll, we were able to take Donald Trump’s deposition today. We are not able to comment further,” said Sawyer.
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Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said the deposition enabled the former president to “set the record straight.”
“This case is nothing more than a political ploy like many others” against Trump, she added.
She wrote a book called “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” which contains a description of the alleged assault. An excerpt of the book also was published in New York Magazine.
Carroll’s account said Trump, whom she had met before, forced himself on her in a dressing room in the Bergdorf Goodman’s department store during the 1990s after asking her to try on lingerie that he considered buying as a gift. 
He denied ever knowing or meeting Carroll, even though a photo with the New York Magazine excerpt showed the two together. He also said Carroll was “not my type.” Noting that Carroll was trying to boost sales for her book, he said it should be “sold in the fiction section.”
Filings by the former president’s legal team have denied Carroll’s allegations and tried to have her court case dismissed or delayed.
Trump’s lawyers argued initially that discovery in the case – the process in which both sides in a dispute exchange evidence and sworn depositions of witnesses – should have been halted and the lawsuit dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction over Trump.
That motion was denied for lack of an affidavit in support from Trump and absence of a basis for dismissal.
Multiple women came forward with similar charges against Trump during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump himself was heard boasting of groping women on an “Access Hollywood” tape that was leaked during the campaign.
Summer Zervos, a onetime contestant on the TV show “The Apprentice” that starred Trump, sued him for defamation after he denied her account of having been sexually victimized. Attorneys for both sides in that case agreed to a 2021 stipulation that ended the lawsuit.
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She filed a New York State court lawsuit in 2019 that, like the Zervos case, accused Trump of defamation. The lawsuit was brought against Trump in his personal capacity, not as president.
“After he lied about attacking her, he surrounded that central lie with a swarm of related lies in an effort to explain why she would invent an accusation of rape. To do so, he smeared her integrity, honesty, and dignity – all in the national press,” the lawsuit said.
In 2020, during Trump’s White House term, the Justice Department, then headed by Attorney General William Barr, moved the case to federal court. The move was based on a law designed to protect federal employees from lawsuits related to their official government duties.
Government lawyers moved to substitute the U.S. government, which cannot be sued for defamation, in Trump’s place as the defendant. That could have prompted a dismissal.
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U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected the substitution effort.
“The undisputed facts demonstrate that President Trump was not acting in furtherance of any duties owed to any arguable employer when he made the statements at issue. His comments concerned an alleged sexual assault that took place several decades before he took office, and the allegations have no relationship to the official business of the United States,” Kaplan wrote.
The judge also concluded that Trump was not a federal employee. That finding was overturned in a 2-1 decision last month by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The appeals court decision did not rule on whether Trump’s comments about Carroll were made in his capacity as president. The judges asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review that question.
Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, in a letter last month asked Kaplan to put the case on hold pending a ruling by the D.C. Circuit on whether Trump’s comments about Carroll were made as part of his government duties.
Kaplan denied the motion, ruling that Trump “has not established that he has a strong likelihood of success” to prevail in the pending appeals court review.
Probably not.
New York State lawmakers recently enacted a statute that gives adult victims of sexual assault a one-year window to file civil lawsuits against their alleged attackers, no matter how long ago the alleged assaults took place.
Roberta Kaplan, an attorney for Carroll, notified the judge last month that her client plans to file such a lawsuit on Nov. 24, the date the one-year window opens. Kaplan said she would ask the judge to bring the two cases to trial as related matters in early 2023.
“The question whether Mr. Trump in fact raped Ms. Carroll is central to this case. But it will be central also to the new case that will almost certainly be filed on November 24, 2022, or soon thereafter,” the judge wrote. “Accordingly, discovery and evidence related to whether or not the rape occurred is relevant to both cases.”

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