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Trump sues ABC News and George Stephanopoulos for defamation over Nancy Mace interview

By Oliver Darcy, CNN

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump filed yet another lawsuit against the news media late Monday, accusing ABC News and George Stephanopoulos of defamation over assertions the anchor made in a combative interview.

In an interview on “This Week,” Stephanopoulos pressed Republican Rep. Nancy Mace, a rape survivor, over her continued support of Trump after a jury found he sexually abused writer E. Jean Carroll in 1996, awarding her $88 million for battery and defamation. Stephanopoulos asserted multiple times in the interview with Mace that Trump had “raped” Carroll.

“You endorsed Donald Trump for president. Judges and two separate juries have found him liable for rape and for defaming the victim of that rape. How do you square your endorsement of Donald Trump with the testimony that we just saw?” Stephanopoulos asked Mace.

The South Carolina Republican defended her support of the former president, arguing that the jury decision was merely in a civil case. “It was not a criminal court case, number one,” she told Stephanopoulos. “Number two, I live with shame. And you’re asking me a question about my political choices trying to shame me as a rape victim.”

While a Manhattan federal jury last year found that Trump had sexually abused Carroll, sufficient to hold him liable for battery, the jury did not find that she proved he had raped her. Dismissing a countersuit months later, however, the judge in the case concluded that the claim Trump raped Carroll was “substantially true.”

“Indeed, the jury’s verdict in Carroll II establishes, as against Mr Trump, the fact that Mr Trump ‘raped her’, albeit digitally rather than with his penis. Thus, it establishes against him the substantial truth of Ms Carroll’s ‘rape’ accusations,” Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote.

Trump’s lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, claims that Stephanopoulos’s statements were “false, intentional, malicious and designed to cause harm.”

A representative for ABC News did not provide an immediate comment.

But Trump, who regularly demonizes the press, has a long history of filing meritless lawsuits against the news media. He was recently forced to pay $392,000 in attorney fees to The New York Times for a failed lawsuit against the newspaper.

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