A court ruled that former US president Donald Trump must appear in court in April as part of a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who claims he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.
In a case that dates back to 2019, Trump, 76, is accused of both rape and defamation. The case was initiated by journalist E. Jean Carroll, 78, who is now a prosecutor.
In 2019, Carroll, a former Elle magazine journalist, filed a defamation lawsuit against then-president Trump in a New York civil court.
Carroll said that Trump sexually assaulted her in the changing room at the upscale Bergdorf Goodman department store on Fifth Avenue in New York City in the middle of the 1990s in an extract from her book that was published by New York Magazine that year.
However, a new legislation that protects sexual assault victims decades after such incidents has come into force in New York. Even if the claimed abuse took place in the past, it still provides sexual assault victims in New York State a year to file a lawsuit against their alleged abusers.
Carroll's attorneys therefore last Thursday filed an updated civil lawsuit against Trump, accusing him of battery for "when he forcibly raped and touched" her, as well as defamation for a statement he made on his Truth Social platform last month denying the alleged rape.
Carroll was unable to file a rape charge against Trump at the time because the alleged offense's statute of limitations had already run out.
Judge Lewis Kaplan heard testimony from both sides in October, and on Tuesday he signed an order setting the defamation trial's start date for April 10 as Carroll had requested.
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