Former president Donald Trump plans to argue that the New York State law that has allowed a writer to sue him over her claim that he raped her decades ago is unconstitutional.
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.
Carroll is a former Elle magazine columnist who said Trump raped her in a dressing room in the department store Bergdorf Goodman 27 years ago.
She is suing Trump for defamation and battery under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which created a one-year period during which victims of sexual assault and abuse can file lawsuits that otherwise would have been barred due to time restraints for assault cases in the state.
The law was spurred by the #MeToo movement, during which many women alleged sexual misconduct and assault by men in positions of power.
Different states across America have different time limits for prosecuting rape and sexual assault. Some only allow lawsuits within a few months. Others a few years. In some states, you can always bring the case to court.
New York typically has a time stamp on sexual abuse cases.
But beginning last month, victims have one year in New York to have their cases see their day in court, no matter the time limit.
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.
Trump wants the law ripped up.
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”.
Experts in rape culture say that this is an example of how society condones and excuses sexual violence.