E. Jean Carroll, the 20th woman to accuse the President of the United States of sexual assault, is suing Donald Trump. In a defamation suit filed Monday morning, the writer and advice columnist alleged that Trump lied earlier this year when he denied raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid 90s.
In Carroll’s 2019 memoir, What Do We Need Men For?, she details her encounter with Trump, who at the department store where he allegedly attacked her in the dressing room. Carroll describes the assault in chilling detail stating that Trump “opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.”
In light of her accusations against Trump, and his abrupt dismissal of them shortly thereafter, Carroll is now seeking punitive damages from the president. Trump faces a similar lawsuit from former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, who alleged that he sexually harassed her in a meeting and called her a liar after she came forward.
“I am filing this lawsuit for every woman who’s been pinched, prodded, cornered, felt-up, pushed against a wall, grabbed, groped, assaulted, and has spoken up only to be shamed, demeaned, disgraced, passed over for promotion, fired, and forgotten,” she said in a statement sent to Refinery29. “While I can no longer hold Donald Trump accountable for assaulting me more than twenty years ago, I can hold him accountable for lying about it and I fully intend to do so.”
The former Saturday Night Live writer and columnist for Elle goes on to detail how Trump’s denial of their encounter defamed and attacked her character, and even ridiculed her appearance. Although Carroll has since explained her reasons for staying quiet about her assault, she feels that now is a time to take a stand, not just against her own alleged rapist, but on behalf of other survivors, too.
“It’s for every woman who can’t speak up because she’ll lose the job she needs to support her three kids,” she said in her statement. “No person in this country should be above the law – including the President.”