Trump lawyers ask for halt in suit from woman alleging rape

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump's lawyers urged a judge Wednesday to halt a lawsuit from a woman seeking Trump's DNA to help prove her claim that he raped her in the 1990s, though her lawyer offered to hold off the DNA request for a time.

Former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is suing Trump for calling her a liar when she went public with her rape allegation last year. Trump's lawyers argue her case — including the DNA request — needs to wait until New York's highest court rules in a separate case against him. That ruling could take several months or longer.

Judge Verna Saunders gave no indication Wednesday how or when she might rule on whether to pause Carroll's case.

Carroll, who watched from the courtroom audience, said afterward she's pursuing the suit “not just for myself but for every woman in America who's been grabbed, groped, harassed, sexually assaulted, and has spoken out and still has been disgraced, shamed or fired.”

Carroll says Trump assaulted her in a luxury department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, after they bumped into each other and bantered about trying on a bodysuit.

Trump said Carroll was “totally lying” to sell a memoir that was published last year, adding in one interview that “she's not my type.”

He said he'd never met Carroll, shrugging off a 1987 photo of them and their then-spouses at a social event as simply a snapshot of a moment when he was standing in a line.

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E Jean Carroll during Elle Magazine Party - September 20, 2006 at 137 West 26th. St in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - FEBRUARY 15: (L-R) E. Jean Carroll, Henry Schleiff and Lisa Bloom attend MOUTHPIECE by Edward Hayes Book Party at McManus Midtown Democratic Association on February 15, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Rudd/Patrick McMullan via Getty Imagess)
CARROLL 03/24/04 TORONTO, Ontario, E. Jean Carroll author of Mr Right Right Now (Photo by Michael Stuparyk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Journalist E. Jean Carroll attends The ELLE Agenda In Conversation Panel And Cocktail Party hosted by Robbie Myers At NeueHouse on November 17, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for ELLE)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Matthew Hussey and E. Jean Carroll appear on NBC News' "Today" show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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Carroll is seeking a DNA sample from Trump to see whether it matches as-yet-unidentified male genetic material found on a dress that she says she was wearing during the alleged attack. Carroll says she hasn't laundered the dress and donned it only once since, for a photo shoot last year.

Trump’s lawyers have asked a court to put her case on hold until New York's highest court rules — in another woman's defamation case against him — whether an incumbent president can be sued in state courts over alleged conduct outside his official duties.

“Courts are required to give the president deference” because of his national responsibilities, said one of his lawyers, Christine Montenegro.

Carroll lawyer Roberta Kaplan offered Wednesday to postpone the DNA request and sworn pretrial questioning of Trump until after the state high court rules in the other case. But she asked the court to let other evidence-gathering continue.

Trump's lawyers rebuffed the proposal.

Carroll is seeking damages and a retraction of Trump's statements, which she says harmed her reputation and career. Elle magazine ended her contract in December, after 26 years. She said she was fired over her tangle with Trump; the magazine’s publisher told The New York Times the decision wasn’t about politics.

The Associated Press does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.

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