E. Jean Carroll visits ‘Tell Me Everything’ with John Fugelsang in the SiriusXM Studios on July 11, 2019 in New York.
Noam Galai | Getty Images
A New York federal judge on Monday postponed indefinitely the previously scheduled April trial for the first of two lawsuits accusing former President Donald Trump of defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll after she claimed he raped her in the mid-1990s.
Judge Lewis Kaplan also denied a joint request by lawyers for Trump and Carroll to consolidate her two pending civil lawsuits against Trump into a single trial.
Kaplan in a brief order wrote that the attorneys overestimated the purported benefits of judicial economy and of avoiding potentially inconsistent rulings by combining the cases in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
He also noted that the trial previously scheduled to start April 10, for the case filed in 2019, “could prove unnecessary” if the federal appeals court that is currently reviewing the case rules that the suit is barred by law.
A spokesman for Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan — who is not related to the judge — declined to comment on the order. Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, declined to comment.
Carroll’s first lawsuit, filed when Trump was still president, alleges he defamed her with false and disparaging comments after when she went public in a New York magazine article about her account of being raped by him in a dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1996 or 1997.
Trump, after the article was published, denied raping Carroll, calling it “a totally false accusation.”
The 76-year-old Republican also claimed that she was motivated to make up the account in order to increase sales of a book that included those allegations, and that Carroll, 79, also acted out of political animus toward him.
That lawsuit had been tentatively scheduled to begin on April 10 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
But that case is at risk of being tossed out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
That appeals court currently is considering whether the comments made about Carroll in 2019 were within the scope of his job as president at the time, under Washington, D.C., local employment law. If they were, as the Justice Department has argued, Trump would be exempt from the claim of defamation.
Carroll’s second suit, filed late last year, also alleges defamation and makes a legal claim of battery against Trump for the alleged rape itself.
The second case was filed to take advantage of a new New York state law that suspended temporarily the statute of limitations that normally would block accusers in sexual assault cases from filing lawsuits against their alleged attackers if the incident had occurred many years before.
The new case also alleges Trump “made additional false claims about Carroll in 2022, more
than three years after she first went public, damaging her reputation even further.”
Trump in a Oct. 12 social media post wrote “This ‘Ms. Bergdorf Goodman case’ is a complete con job.”
“And, while I am not supposed to say it, I will,” he added. “This woman is not my type.”
Trump during a deposition by Carroll’s lawyers mistook a photo of Carroll for his ex-wife, Marla Maples.