Timeline: E. Jean Carroll v. Donald Trump and the Ongoing Defamation Legal Battle

Jean Carroll sits alongside lawyers Joshua Matz and Marcella Coburn during a hearing in her defamation lawsuit against U.S. President Donald Trump at a courthouse in New York, U.S. October 21, 2020 in this coutroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/File Photo

By Susanna Granieri

Former Elle Magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll accused former President Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in late 1995 or early 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in her memoir “What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal.” An excerpt of her memoir was published in New York Magazine’s The Cut in June 2019. Post-publication, Trump issued multiple statements about Carroll, stating he never knew her, she wasn’t his type and that the alleged assault never happened. Carroll sued Trump for defamation in 2019, claiming that his public statements were false and made with a reckless disregard for the truth and irreparably harmed her reputation.

But on Nov. 24, 2022, Carroll filed another lawsuit — this time employing the Adult Survivors Act, a New York state law that took effect the same day and allows sexual assault survivors to sue their alleged abusers in civil court despite the statute of limitations having expired. The lawsuit includes the past allegedly defamatory statements made by Trump denying the assault, and includes a recent statement he made in October.

Before Carroll joined Elle Magazine as an advice columnist, she wrote for “Saturday Night Live.” In 1993, Carroll joined Elle, where her advice column ran until 2020. From 1994 to 1996, Carroll hosted and produced “Ask E. Jean,” a television series that aired on NBC.

The legal battle between Trump and Carroll has been ongoing since 2019, and is currently in three separate courts: the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the D.C. Court of Appeals.

First Amendment Watch created an interactive timeline of the legal battle, excluding numerous procedural maneuvers in the case, but reflecting the key defamation arguments from June 2019 through November 2022.

Updated Jan. 13, 2022. 

Click to make the timeline full screen