Former President Donald Trump has attempted to dismiss a lawsuit by essayist E. Jean Carroll accusing him of rape, claiming that the law under which the suit was filed is inherently unconstitutional.
"The Adult Survivors Act, well-intentioned as it may be, is a fundamentally flawed law that is unable to withstand constitutional scrutiny," Trump's attorney Alina Habba said in a filing in Manhattan court on Wednesday obtained by Bloomberg.
She continued, claiming that the law "inherently deprives countless individuals of their constitutional right to due process by forcing them to defend against these once-stale claims."
Carroll had previously sued Trump for defamation, after he'd shrugged off her allegations of rape by saying she was "not my type." That case is currently working its way through an appeals process. This latest suit, however, is predicated on the recently enacted Adult Survivors Act, which affords alleged victims of sexual assault a one-year window in which they can sue their alleged perpetrators, no matter if the statute of limitations had run out; the bill was signed into law by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in May, and went into effect in late November.
As of December 10, only 19 cases — including Carroll's — had been filed under the new law. Carroll's case seeks to expand on her earlier lawsuit by including the initial defamation allegation, while adding a charge of battery as well. She is reportedly hoping to ultimately combine the two suits into a single case.
Carroll, a former columnist for Elle magazine, claims that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in the mid 1990s. Trump has denied he allegations, and this past October sat for a deposition in the defamation suit. Prior to that deposition, Judge Lewis Kaplan noted that both Carroll and Trump "already are of advanced age" and accordingly, Trump "should not be permitted to run the clock out" by avoiding questioning.