Donald Trump will have to answer questions under oath next week in a defamation lawsuit brought by a writer who says he raped her in the mid-1990s, a judge ruled on Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan denied a request by Trump’s attorneys to delay scheduled testimony. The deposition is now scheduled for October 19.
The decision came amid a lawsuit filed by longtime Elle magazine columnist E Jean Carroll, who claims Trump raped her in the dressing room of an upscale Manhattan department store. Trump denied it. Carroll is expected to be dropped off Friday.
Trump attorney Alina Habba said, “We look forward to formally establishing that this case is, and always has been, entirely without merit.”
In a late-night statement, Trump weighed in on himself, calling the US legal system a “broken shame” and saying the lawsuit was “a hoax and a lie.”
Following Trump’s comments, a spokesperson for Kaplan’s firm, Kaplan Hecker & Fink, said “Donald Trump’s latest statement obviously does not warrant a response.”
Earlier in the day, Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, said she was pleased with the decision and looked forward to filing the new claims next month “and getting to trial with all expeditiousness.”
Trump’s legal team tried various legal tactics to delay the trial and prevent him from being questioned by Carroll’s attorneys, but Judge Kaplan wrote it was time to move on, especially considering given the “advanced age” of Carroll, 78, and Trump, 76. , and possibly other witnesses.
“Defendant should not be allowed to run time against Plaintiff’s attempt to obtain redress for what would have been a grievous wrong,” he wrote.
Carroll’s lawsuit claims Trump damaged her reputation in 2019 when he denied raping her. Trump’s legal team tried to crush the suit, arguing the Republican was just doing his job as president when he denied the allegations, including when he dismissed his accuser as “not my type.”
This is a key question because if Trump was acting within the scope of his duties as a federal employee, the US government would become the defendant in the case.
The United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals last month ruled in a split decision that Trump was a federal employee when he commented on Carroll’s claims. But he asked another court in Washington to decide whether Trump’s public statements took place in the course of his employment.
Kaplan, the judge, said Trump repeatedly tried to delay the collection of evidence in the trial.
“Given his conduct thus far in this matter, Mr. Trump’s position regarding the burden of discovery is inexcusable,” he wrote. “As this court has already observed, Mr. Trump has argued this case since it began in 2019 with the effect and probably the purpose of delaying it.”
The judge noted that the collection of evidence for the trial to go to trial was essentially complete, except for the depositions of Trump and Carroll.
“Mr. Trump conducted a thorough investigation of the complainant, but produced virtually none himself,” Kaplan said. “The completion of these depositions – which have already been delayed for years – would impose no undue burden on Mr. Trump, let alone irreparable harm.”
The judge also said the deposition could come in handy when Carroll’s attorney files a new lawsuit next month under New York’s revival law, the Adult Survivors Act, allowing him to sue for damages- interests for the alleged rape without the statute of limitations blocking it.
The question of whether the rape took place is at the heart of the defamation claims, as well as the planned new trial, the judge said.