A New York state Supreme Court judge on Thursday denied President Donald Trump’s effort to delay the proceedings in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by longtime magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, a move that allows her to pursue his DNA sample in an effort to prove claims he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.
In her ruling, Justice Verna Saunders wrote that a recent Supreme Court decision regarding Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s subpoena for Trump’s financial records demonstrates that a state court can exercise jurisdiction over a sitting President, meaning Carroll’s case against Trump should be allowed to proceed.
“This court construes the holding in Vance applicable to all state court proceedings in which a sitting President is involved, including those involving his or her unofficial/personal conduct,” the judge wrote.
Lawyers for Trump didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Saunders’s ruling.
Carroll, an advice columnist who for years wrote for Elle Magazine, alleged in a lawsuit filed last fall that Trump sexually assaulted her in a dressing room at luxury Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s. Trump has denied the allegation, calling it “totally false” and saying he “never met this person in my life.”
In January, attorneys for Carroll served an attorney for Trump with papers requesting a sample of his DNA to compare with male genetic material found on the black Donna Karan dress Carroll says she wore during the alleged encounter at Bergdorf’s.
That request was put on hold in the wake of an order from the judge that halted discovery requests until Trump’s motion to stay the case has been decided.
Trump’s lawyers had argued to the court that the Carroll case should be delayed until a state appeals court rules in another, similar case brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos on the question of whether the state courts have jurisdiction over him while he occupies the White House.
But lawyers for Carroll said Trump shouldn’t be allowed to delay the case in light of the fact that he has both continued to handle other cases as a defendant while serving as President and has also continued to file lawsuits. They submitted further arguments in the wake of the Vance ruling, arguing that it should permit their case to move forward.
The judge agreed, paving the way for Carroll’s efforts to seek Trump’s DNA.
“We are very gratified that Judge Saunders, recognizing the clear holding of the Supreme Court in Vance, has rejected President Trump’s assertion of absolute immunity and has denied his motion to stay E. Jean Carroll’s case,” Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Carroll said in a statement. “We are now eager to move forward with discovery so that we can prove that Donald Trump defamed E Jean Carroll when he lied about her in connection with her brave decision to tell the truth about the fact that Donald Trump had sexually assaulted her.”