Friday, June 24, 2016

Lawsuit Charges Donald Trump with Raping a 13-Year-Old Girl

In late April 2016, rumors began to circulate online holding that Republican presidential Donald Trump had either been sued over, or arrested for, raping a teenaged girl. One of the earliest versions of the rumor was published on 2 May 2016 by the Winning Democrats web site, which reported that:


The first major scandal to hit the Trump campaign besides the typical “what a racist, such a sexist, yada yada yada,” came from a lawsuit stemming from the infamous sex parties held by billionaire and known pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The woman named in the suit is Katie Johnson, who says Trump took her virginity in 1994 when she was only 13 and being held by Epstein as a slave.

Johnson says in the complaint that Trump and Epstein threatened her and her family with bodily harm if she didn’t comply with all of their disgusting demands. The Trump campaign has been on this immediately, calling it absolute nonsense and not even remotely true or possible.

Many aggregated reports cited a 28 April 2016 article that described the circumstances under which the lawsuit had been filed:


Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is fighting what could be the biggest election season bombshell yet — explosive court claims that he raped a woman when she was a teen.

The woman — identified as Katie Johnson — filed documents in a California court on April 26, accusing Trump and billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein of “sexual abuse under threat of harm” and “conspiracy to deprive civil rights,” RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.

She filed the lawsuit herself — without legal representation — and is suing for $100 million.

Most early iterations of the rumor mentioned a civil lawsuit, not criminal charges, but at some point around June 2016 the rumor evolved to suggest that Trump had been (or would imminently be) criminally charged with the rape of a young girl. A copy of the California lawsuit (filed on 26 April 2016) shared via the Scribd web site outlined the allegations, which included the accusation that Trump and another man had (over 20 years earlier) "sexually and physically" abused the then 13-year-old plaintiff and forced her "to engage in various perverted and depraved sex acts" (including "forcible rape") after luring her to a "series of underage sex parties" by promising her "money and a modeling career":
Donald_Trump_Lawsuit_
The filed court document was a "Complaint for Claim Relief Due to: Sexual Abuse Under Threat of Harm and Conspiracy to Deprive Civil Rights," and its claim for relief sought $100 million in damages:
Donald_Trump rape


As is commonly noted, anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason; the existence of a lawsuit is not itself evidence that proves the claims contained within it.

According to RadarOnline's initial reporting, the lawsuit filed in California on 26 April 2016 was dismissed, with the plaintiff failing in her attempt to avoid incurring the cost of the litigation:


A judge recommended on April 29 that “Katie Johnson” should have to pay her own attorneys’ fees and court costs related to the $100 million lawsuit she brought against Trump and billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein over alleged sexual assault charges. Then on May 2, a U.S. District judge ordered the entire lawsuit thrown out.

“Johnson” had previously filed forms asking to be let off the hook for the costs of the lawsuit, claiming she had only $300 to her name ... such an allowance — known as in forma paupers — is only given in civil rights cases in California, and the judge ruled that she “failed to state a claim for relief” on a civil rights basis, even though she “utilized the form provided by the Central District of California for civil actions.”

“Even construing the ... pleading liberally, Plaintiff has not alleged any race-based or class-based animus against her, and consequently, her ... allegations fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,” the judge wrote ... the address listed on the paperwork leads to an abandoned property, and the phone number goes straight to voicemail.

On 20 June 2016, New York City-based blog Gothamist reported that the plaintiff had filed a similar complaint in a New York State federal court. In that filing, the plaintiff requested injunctive relief of $75,000 in damages (per Gothamist) along with fees:


A federal lawsuit filed in New York accuses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump of repeatedly raping a 13-year-old girl more than 20 years ago, at several Upper East Side parties hosted by convicted sex offender and notorious billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein.

The suit, first reported by the Real Deal, accuses Trump and Epstein of luring the anonymous plaintiff and other young women to four parties at Epstein's so-called Wexner Mansion at 9 East 71st Street. Epstein allegedly lured the plaintiff, identified in the suit only as Jane Doe, with promises of a modeling career and cash.

Another anonymous woman, identified in additional testimony as Tiffany Doe, corroborates Jane's allegations, testifying that she met Epstein at Port Authority, where he hired her to recruit other young girls for his parties. Trump had known Epstein for seven years in 1994 when he attended the parties at Wexner, according to the suit. He also allegedly knew that the plaintiff was 13 years old.

Jane Doe filed a similar suit in California in April, under the name Katie Johnson, also accusing Trump and Epstein of rape. That suit was dismissed on the grounds of improper paperwork — the address affiliated with her name was found to be abandoned. Today's suit confirms that the plaintiffs are one and the same.

The online outlet that first reported the second filing in New York in June 2016 explained why a civil rather than a criminal complaint was filed:


It should be noted that anyone can file a civil complaint in federal court. The statute of limitations in New York for civil rape cases is five years, but [the] complaint argues that the time limit should be waived, noting that the plaintiff was too frightened to report the abuse because Trump had threatened that if she did “her family would be physically harmed if not killed.”

“Both defendants let plaintiff know that each was a very wealthy, powerful man and indicated that they had the power, ability and means to carry out their threats,” the complaint claims.

A copy of the New York-based suit was also uploaded to Scribd, and in the second filing the plaintiff was represented by an attorney who had learned of her allegations via a gossip web site:
In short, in April 2016 a complainant filed a civil suit in California against Donald Trump, accusing the candidate of rape and sexual abuse (acts that had allegedly occurred more than 20 years earlier) and seeking $100,000,000 in damages. That lawsuit was thrown out, but in June 2016 the same plaintiff filed a similar civil suit in a federal court in New York involving the same serious allegations. The status of that second lawsuit is pending, and the only information available so far about its allegations so far comes from the complainant's filing.

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