Tort Law

Lawyers for Trump and rape accuser square off over DNA offer

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E Jean Carroll

Writer E. Jean Carroll talks to reporters in March 2020 outside a courthouse in New York. Photo by Seth Wenig/The Associated Press.

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump and a woman who accused him of sexual assault are fighting over his offer to provide a DNA sample in exchange for missing pages of a forensic analysis of the dress that she claims to have worn on the day in question.

The lawyer for Trump, Joseph Tacopina, said in a Feb. 10 letter filed in federal court his client would provide the sample in exchange for the full report.

Law360, the New York Times and Courthouse News Service have coverage.

Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer for rape accuser E. Jean Carroll, replied in a letter also filed in court Feb. 10.

“Trump’s letter should be seen for exactly what it is: a transparent effort to manufacture a dispute over a document Trump has known about for more than three years in order to delay these proceedings, put off the first day of trial at all costs, prejudice potential jurors, and ‘take back’ his own past strategic decisions in this litigation,” Kaplan wrote.

Carroll has accused Trump of raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s and of defaming her by denying that it happened. Kaplan said Carroll first sought a DNA sample from Trump in January 2020.

Carroll’s initial lawsuit, filed in New York state court and removed to federal court, accused Trump of libeling her by statements that he made in 2019. The suit is known as Carroll I.

Trump’s DNA offer was made in a second suit filed by Carroll in November 2022 under New York’s Adult Survivors Act. The law gives adults alleging sexual assault a one-year window to sue. That suit, known as Carroll II, alleged battery and additional instances of libel over a statement that Trump made in 2022.

Both suits are pending before U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York. He had not yet ruled on the DNA dispute on the morning of Feb. 14.

Cassandra Burke Robertson, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, told Courthouse News Service that she doesn’t think that Trump’s lawyer has a winning argument on the discovery exchange.

“Never say never, but I don’t see a legal basis for that argument,” Robertson said. “There’s no quid pro quo in discovery.”

See also: “2nd Circuit gives Trump chance to avoid rape defamation suit with ruling on employee status” “Afternoon Briefs: Author sues Trump for defamation; court tosses bias suit by white male lawyer” “Taking same stance as former AG Barr, Biden’s DOJ seeks to defend Trump in defamation suit by rape accuser”

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