E. Jean Carroll allowed to amend defamation lawsuit against Trump

NEW YORK — A federal judge will permit former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll to amend her original defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump to include comments the former president made at a CNN town hall last month.

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U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan made the ruling in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, USA Today reported. It came on the same day Trump was arraigned and pleaded not guilty in a federal court in Miami to 37 charges related to his handling of classified documents.

Carroll, 79, asked the judge to amend her initial lawsuit, filed in November 2019, so she could seek additional punitive damages after Trump repeated statements a jury found to be defamatory, CNN reported.

The filing in a Manhattan federal court sought to increase the financial amount awarded to Carroll, The New York Times reported. The jury in Carroll’s civil case on May 9 found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation, according to the newspaper. The amended lawsuit sought at least $10 million in compensatory damages, according to The Associated Press.

Trump had asked the court to deny Carroll’s effort to update the lawsuit, according to CNBC.

On May 10, Trump appeared at CNN’s Republican presidential town hall, CNN reported.

During the show, Trump said, “I have no idea who this woman -- this is a fake story, made up story.”

The former president also called Carroll a “whack job” and spoke about her former husband and a pet cat, CNN reported.

According to USA Today, Carroll’s attorneys said that “this conduct supports a very substantial punitive damages award in Carroll’s favor both to punish Trump, to deter him from engaging in further defamation, and to deter others from doing the same.”

The court will still have to decide whether Carroll is entitled to the additional damages, according to the newspaper.

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said, “We look forward to moving ahead expeditiously on E. Jean Carroll’s remaining claims,” the Times reported.

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, said, “We maintain that she should not be permitted to retroactively change her legal theory, at the 11th hour, to avoid the consequences of an adverse finding against her.”

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