E. Jean Carroll’s attorney said Thursday that she may sue former President Donald Trump for defamation again after he smeared and mocked her during Wednesday’s CNN town hall.
Trump attacked Carroll and called her sexual assault claim “fake” and a “made-up story” just one day after a jury found him liable for sexually abusing and defaming the columnist and awarded her $5 million in damages. Trump called the writer a “whack job” and called the trial a “rigged deal” to applause and laughter from the pro-Trump audience.
“It’s just stupid, it’s just disgusting, vile, foul, it wounds people,” Carroll told The New York Times of Trump’s comments, adding that she has been “insulted by better people.”
Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan told the outlet that she is weighing whether to file a new defamation lawsuit against Trump. An earlier defamation suit that Carroll filed against Trump is still pending. Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina also formally filed a notice to appeal this week’s verdict on Thursday.
“Everything’s on the table, obviously, and we have to give serious consideration to it,” Kaplan told the Times.
CNN also came under fire for giving Trump a platform to smear his accuser.
“I hate that @CNN allowed E. Jean Carroll’s name to be dragged through the mud again by this terrible man,” tweeted Sherrilyn Ifill, the former president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “Sure she could sue him for defamation again. That doesn’t change the hurt & humiliation at the laughter, and at the knowledge that CNN was willing to expose her to this.”
Trump’s camp “couldn’t be happier” and told The Daily Beast that the former president is open to doing another CNN town hall.
“If invited, he would return. I’m sure of it,” a source close to Trump told the outlet. “He’s unbreakable and doesn’t back down.”
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who served on former special counsel Bob Mueller’s team, told MSNBC that CNN could face legal liability if they continue to host Trump in the wake of the massive settlement between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems.
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“CNN does have that risk and if you’re CNN’s general counsel you are thinking about that today,” he said. “The issue here is not so much will E. Jean Carroll be able to bring a case against Donald Trump. Of course, she could. I doubt she’s going to because she just prevailed and she went through an exhaustive trial and was revictimized.”
But “the other person at the table here is CNN,” Weissmann added. “This is one where they’re gonna start becoming dangerously close to reckless disregard and actual malice because they know what he’s going to say in advance.”
Weissmann noted that CNN created the forum with an adamantly pro-Trump audience.
“So CNN is exposing itself to potential legal liability, particularly if it does this again and again,” he said. “But I don’t think that can be the answer because the timeline is too long.
Weissmann explained that although Carroll and Dominion won big verdicts, it took years for them to get justice.
“It gets to whether the legal system is going to be the answer for the problem that we all witnessed” at the CNN town hall, he said. “You have two victims who in civil cases took many, many years and a lot of tenacity and a lot of money to hold people to account… that can’t be the answer because it just takes too long. The timeline doesn’t work when you have an election coming up,” he added.
about Trump’s CNN town hall