Donald Trump plans to argue that a New York law allowing a writer to sue him over her claim that he raped her decades ago is unconstitutional, according to a court filing.
In a filing in Manhattan federal court this week, lawyers for Trump said they would move to dismiss the lawsuit filed last month by E Jean Carroll, in part on grounds that the law is invalid.
Trump denies Carroll’s claim that he raped her in a dressing room in the department store Bergdorf Goodman 27 years ago.
The former Elle magazine columnist is suing Trump for defamation and battery under New York’s Adult Survivors Act.
The law was spurred by the #MeToo movement, during which many women alleged sexual misconduct and assault by men in positions of power.
The Adult Survivors Act created a one-year period, beginning last month, in which adult victims of alleged sexual abuse can file lawsuits that otherwise would have been barred because the cases were too old.
Excerpts of Carroll’s testimony were made public on Tuesday. Under questioning by an attorney for Trump, Carroll explained why she did not want to tell people she had been raped at the time of the alleged incident, in the mid-1990s.
“Women who have been raped are looked at in this society as less, are looked at as spoiled goods, are looked at as rather dumb to let themselves get attacked,” she said.
Carroll also said rape victims are asked why they didn’t scream or come forward sooner. #MeToo, she said, helped her to rethink her experience. But since making her claim against Trump she had lost her job.
“I’m looked at as a woman who’s untrustworthy, looked at now as a woman who can’t be believed,” Carroll said. “I’m looked at as a woman who was stupid and dumb enough to have happen to her what happened to her.”
In their filing, Trump’s lawyers called the Adult Survivors Act “an improper ‘claim revival’ statute which violates the United States constitution and the New York state constitution”.
Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll, declined to comment.
In an order on Wednesday, a US district judge, Lewis Kaplan, gave Trump until 23 February to file a motion to dismiss Carroll’s lawsuit.
Carroll sued Trump for defamation in 2019, for comments made while denying her allegations. In that case, a trial is scheduled for April.
Lawyers for Carroll have asked Kaplan to send the newer claims to trial at the same time. Trump’s lawyers have said that would be improper.