Trump files defamation lawsuit against ABC and Stephanopoulos over GOP Rep. Nancy Mace's interview

A jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse, not rape.
Donald Trump, George Stephanopoulos, Sept. 15, 2020, Philadelphia

Former President Donald Trump filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC News and George Stephanopoulos over the host's questioning of South Carolina Republican Rep. Nancy Mace, whom he pressed about endorsing Trump while being a rape survivor.

Trump's lawsuit, filed Monday, takes issue with how Stephanopoulos, during his March 10 interview with Mace on "This Week," said a dozen times that Trump has been found liable for "rape," according to the transcript.

A jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation in author E. Jean Carroll's lawsuits against him, but they did not find him responsible for rape. 

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

Mace accused Stephanopoulos of trying to "shame" her as a rape victim.

"I find it offensive. And this is why women won’t come forward," Mace said. "They are judged, and they’re shamed, and you’re trying to shame me this morning. I think it’s disgusting."

Trump's lawsuit states: "Stephanopoulos' false, defamatory, and misleading statements about Plaintiff immediately spread like wildfire, as numerous third parties and media outlets repeated and reposted them to countless viewers." 

The lawsuit asks for an unspecified amount in damages from ABC and Stephanopoulos, in addition to punitive damages, which are intended to punish a defendant.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.