MANHATTAN (CN) – With President Donald Trump denying that he ever met her, the journalist who says he raped her two decades ago in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman brought a federal complaint Monday for defamation.
“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,” E. Jean Carroll, a 75-year-old advice columnist for Elle Magazine, said in a statement this morning.
Carroll filed the suit in Manhattan Supreme Court, saying the 73-year-old Trump’s denials of the incident and attacks on her integrity and character have caused her pain and professional harm.
Represented by Roberta Kaplan of Kaplan Hecker & Fink, she even notes that letters for her column are down 50% as compared to the same quarter last year.
“Many were turned off by even the idea of writing to a woman whom the President of the United States has branded a ‘liar,’” the complaint states.
As Carroll tells it, the stars were crossed against her from the moment Trump spotted her in Bergdoff’s revolving side door at 58th Street in either late 1995 or early 1996. He recognized her from a Roger Ailes network called America’s Talking where Carroll had an advice program. But Carroll says their playful banter darkened as Trump led her deep into the store, seeking gift advice for “a girl.”
They found the lingerie department “uncharacteristically empty,” according to the complaint, and then the dressing room unattended and unlocked.
Trump had allegedly been holding a see-through bodysuit, and Carroll says she expected he would playfully try it on over his pants.
Instead, according to the complaint, the real estate tycoon attacked.
Carroll says she hoped Trump would flee when she reacted to his mouth on hers by laughing.
“But Trump did not stop,” according to the complaint. The whole thing lasted 2 or 3 minutes, she says. After ripping down Carroll’s tights and pinning her arms, Trump unzipped his pants and forced his penis inside her.
Eventually “she raised a knee up high enough to push him out and off her,” then fled into Fifth Avenue, the complaint states.
Using her cellphone, Carroll called her journalist friend Lisa Birnbach immediately. Within a few days she had told a second journalist friend, Carol Martin, who advised her not to tell anyone.
“He has two hundred lawyers. He’ll bury you,” Martin said, according to the complaint. This summer when Carroll finally went public, writing of the attack in a book, both Martin and Birnbach corroborated her story.
The columnist’s complaint includes a photograph of Carroll and Trump together at a party in 1987, a pointed response to Trump’s claim this year that never met her.
Carroll sued the president only in his personal capacity, demanding damages and a jury trial. It’s not clear who will represent Trump. A representative for his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
“In her advice column, Carroll encourages her readers to be brave, to think clearly, and to seek justice,” Kaplan said in a statement Monday. “So Carroll has decided to follow her own advice.”
Trump has offered other reasons to doubt Carroll: “She is trying to sell a new book — that should indicate her motivation,” he said. “It should be sold in the fiction section.”
Later in an interview, Trump said, “she’s not my type.”
The president has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct or assault by at least two dozen women.