By Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Donald Trump’s push for a new trial in the civil case in which a Manhattan jury last month found the former U.S. president sexually abused and defamed the writer E. Jean Carroll is “magical thinking,” Carroll’s lawyers said on Thursday.
Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presential nomination, on June 8 asked for a new trial after the jury awarded Carroll $5 million, saying the damages were excessive because the jury did not find she was raped and because the alleged conduct did not cause her a diagnosed mental injury.
In court papers filed Thursday in opposition to Trump’s request, Carroll’s lawyers maintained that the attack has harmed her ability to have romantic and sexual relationships, and she has suffered intrusive memories.
They pointed to a psychologist’s testimony at trial that Carroll had some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Trump’s motion is nothing more than his latest effort to obfuscate the import of the jury’s verdict by engaging in his own particular Trump-branded form of magical thinking,” her lawyers wrote.
Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Carroll’s lawsuit, filed in 2022, said Trump raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York in the mid-1990s, and defamed her by denying it happened. Trump has called Carroll’s claims a “hoax”.
Carroll, a former Elle magazine advice columnist, filed a separate lawsuit in November 2019 for defamation only.
That case has been bogged down in appeals over whether Trump was immune from being sued because he had been president when he spoke. Carroll updated that lawsuit to seek $10 million from Trump after he called Carroll’s account “fake” and labeled her a “whack job” in a CNN town hall after the jury’s verdict in the 2022 lawsuit.
The case is one of several legal woes facing Trump, the first current or former U.S. president to face criminal charges, as he seeks to return to the White House.
Last week, he pleaded not guilty to 37 federal counts of retaining national defense documents at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida and obstructing an investigation into his conduct. In April, he pleaded not guilty to New York state charges stemming from a 2016 hush money payment to a porn star.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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