Trump’s June 1 phone call was intended to encourage the nation’s governors to take a tougher posture in quelling riots and violence that grew from protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody, lawyers for journalist E. Jean Carroll noted in a new court filing. But in doing so, they said, the president contradicted his legal team’s claim that New York City is an improper venue for the lawsuit because he now resides in Washington and has changed his primary residence from Manhattan’s Trump Tower to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
“Now what happened in New York, I have to tell you, I live in Manhattan,” Trump said in the phone call, according to a transcript filed in court. He was alluding to the New York Police Department’s initial failure to stop the looting and mayhem there.
“I don’t know what’s happening in Manhattan, but it’s terrible,” the president said, according to the transcript.
Attorneys for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Carroll sued Trump last year after he called her a liar and accused her of fabricating the sexual assault to sell her book. Carroll alleged in her memoir that Trump raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman, a high-end Manhattan department store, in the 1990s.
He is facing a similar lawsuit from former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, who said in 2016 that Trump sexually assaulted her several years prior, an assertion the president has denied. Her case is pending before the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest, which will decide if Trump can be sued personally while in office or if he is immune.
Arguments in the Zervos case have not been scheduled. A court spokesman said Monday that the case could be heard as soon as October — a timeline that could prove damaging to the president’s reelection campaign — but that it is more likely to be heard next year.
Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the Carroll case, a New York State Supreme Court judge has yet to decide if the lawsuit should be put on hold until the appeals court decides the immunity question. Carroll’s team is seeking a DNA sample from Trump to compare it with genetic material found on the dress Carroll says she wore the day of the assault. Trump’s lawyers have argued immunity in both cases and have sought to put Carroll’s proceeding on hold until there is a ruling on that matter in the Zervos case.
Judge Verna Saunders heard arguments in Carroll’s case in early March, but her decision has yet to come.
The coronavirus pandemic shut down all nonessential matters in New York’s court system later that month.
Monday’s filing reinforces Carroll’s assertion that Manhattan is a proper venue in which to sue the president, a lifelong New Yorker, her lawyers said, adding that their claim to jurisdiction is reinforced by the fact that Trump’s reelection campaign is based here, at Trump Tower. The attorneys argued that Trump’s home base has been and continues to be in New York.
The Washington Post previously reported that Trump tried to register as a Florida voter using his White House address and later had to reapply citing Mar-a-Lago. Carroll’s lawyers argued that this illustrates the president uses whatever address benefits him.