The journalist and writer Elizabeth Jean Carroll sued Donald Trump this Thursday in relation to the sexual assault to which the former president would have subjected her in the mid-90s.
"Approximately 27 years ago, a playful chat at the Bergdorf Goodman luxury department store on Fifth Avenue in New York City took a dark turn when defendant Donald J. Trump grabbed plaintiff E. Jean Carroll and pushed her against a dressing room wall, pinned her down and raped her."
This is how the text of the civil lawsuit begins that the victim, then 52 years old and today 78, filed on Wednesday night and made public on Thursday through his Twitter account.
The legal action against the ex-president, related to crimes of assault and defamation, takes advantage of a new regulation of the State of New York, the Adult Survivors Law, which allows whistleblowers of sexual assault to file lawsuits years after the attack.
Carroll had previously sued Trump for defamation although he never pursued a direct criminal action for the violation. His legal representatives argue it in the new complaint.
She "trusted two close friends. One urged her to report the crime to the police, but the other warned her that Trump would ruin her life and livelihood if she reported him," the explanation begins. "Carroll chose silence and she remained so for more than two decades. She knew that sexual assault was widespread, and that men have been assaulting women and getting away with it since before she was born."
He was also aware that "a woman who accused a rich, famous and violent man of rape would probably lose everything." Thus, she "reasonably concluded that if she accused Donald Trump of rape, he would bury her in threats and lawsuits, and she would likely lose her reputation, as well as all that she had accomplished and for which she had worked up".
In 2019, Carroll did civilly sue Trump for defamation after, as a result of a book where she recounted what happened, he had denied the sexual assault between contempt: in addition to ensuring that he never met Carroll, the magnate commented that she was not his type and that he had made up the story to boost sales of his publication.
The writer, through her lawyers, alludes to the impact caused by other assault complaints, first against Trump and then against the powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
The political leader responded to the women who accused him "with insults and denials", despite which "he not only won the election but became more popular with some supporters as a result of the controversy", recalls Carroll.
The journalist justifies her passivity at that time with a family motivation. "Carroll's mother, a respected Republican official in Indiana, was dying" in the months leading up to the 2016 election.
"Carroll, wanting to make her mother's last days as pleasant as possible and wanting to spare her pain, decided to remain silent about what Trump had done to her."
Everything changed, however, when the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke out at the end of 2017, which led to the
As a result of that twist, she too changed. And, after using her newspaper column to encourage female sexual assault victims to come forward, in 2019 "she decided to describe Trump's rape in a book she had already begun writing about her experiences with several men". Yet, at that time, she also did not want to go to the police or the courts or other journalists because she, she argues, preferred "to tell his story on his own terms."
Three years after denying the facts, already in 2022, Trump "made additional false claims about Carroll, further damaging his reputation." Hence, and as a result of the new law that has provided the necessary legal channel, the lawsuit this Thursday.
The former president, the plaintiff's lawyers point out, "seriously injured Carroll by causing him significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological damage, loss of dignity and invasion of his privacy."
The writer, in short, is now denouncing the Republican leader "to obtain reparation for his injuries and to show that even a man as powerful as Trump can be held accountable before the law."