NEW YORK — A federal judge has ruled that former President Donald Trump cannot proceed with his countersuit against the writer who previously won a sex abuse lawsuit against him. The judge's ruling states that Trump cannot claim he was defamed by the writer's continued assertion that she was both sexually abused and raped.

This decision halts, at least for now, Trump's attempt to reverse the legal situation faced by E. Jean Carroll. In May, Carroll was awarded a $5 million judgment against Trump, and she is currently pursuing her own defamation suit against him. Trump's attorney, Alina Habba, has stated that they will appeal the dismissal of his counterclaim, describing the decision as "flawed."

Carroll's lawyer, Robbie Kaplan, expressed satisfaction with the ruling and is eagerly anticipating the upcoming trial in January for her defamation suit. This suit revolves around a series of statements made by Trump in which he denies Carroll's sexual assault allegation.

Kaplan confidently stated, "E. Jean Carroll looks forward to obtaining additional compensatory and punitive damages" in the upcoming trial.

In her accusation, Carroll claimed that Trump trapped her in a luxury department store dressing room in 1996, forcibly kissed her, pulled down her tights, and raped her as she struggled to defend herself.

Trump vehemently denies all of these allegations, including any encounter at the store. He has publicly referred to Carroll as a "nut job" who concocted "a fraudulent and false story" in order to sell a memoir.

During the trial held earlier this year, a civil court jury concluded that Trump had sexually abused Carroll but did not find evidence to support her claim of rape. This distinction was made based on the jury's interpretation of how Trump allegedly penetrated Carroll against her will.

A Contentious Defamation Lawsuit: Trump vs. Carroll

In a recent interview with CNN, E. Jean Carroll was asked about her reaction upon hearing the finding that dismissed her rape allegations against Donald Trump. Her response was both firm and resolute: "Well, I just immediately say in my own head, 'Oh, yes, he did. Oh, yes, he did.'" Carroll further revealed that she had also confronted one of Trump's attorneys, adamantly asserting, "He did it, and you know it."

Consequently, Trump filed a defamation lawsuit against Carroll, citing her statements as false and damaging to his reputation. Seeking both a retraction and financial compensation, he aimed to challenge her accusations.

Trump's attorneys argued in court papers that Carroll's assertions contradicted the jury verdict, which found that the alleged rape did not occur. They contended that the jury's conclusion established the invalidity of her claims.

During the trial, jurors were made aware of an essential distinction under New York law regarding rape and sexual abuse. They were informed that rape entails forcible penetration by a penis, whereas sexual abuse encompasses forcible penetration by a finger. Carroll asserted that both forms of violation were inflicted upon her.

Contrary to Trump's claims, Carroll's legal team maintained that her post-verdict statements were in fact "substantially true."

Interestingly enough, the judge agreed.

In the ruling issued on Monday, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan acknowledged the minor disparity between Carroll's allegedly defamatory statements and the "truth." He wrote, "The difference between Ms. Carroll's allegedly defamatory statements – that Mr. Trump 'raped' her as defined in the New York Penal Law – and the 'truth' – that Mr. Trump forcibly digitally penetrated Ms. Carroll – are minimal." Judge Kaplan proceeded to emphasize, "Both are felonious sex crimes."

Furthermore, Kaplan noted that the term "rape" is commonly used in everyday language, various legal frameworks, and other contexts to encompass both actions. Therefore, he deemed both forms of violation to constitute "rape."

It is worth mentioning that The Associated Press generally refrains from disclosing the identities of individuals who claim to have been sexually assaulted unless they choose to step forward publicly, as Carroll has bravely done.

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