Just before the Washington Post published video showing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump advocating for sexual assault against women, a federal judge in New York ordered a December hearing in a lawsuit claiming that Trump raped multiple underage girls who were procured for Trump by the infamous "billionaire pedophile" Jeffrey Epstein. The lawsuit, which identifies Trump's victims solely as "Jane Doe," "Maria Doe"—who allegedly disappeared after protesting her treatment at Trump's hands—was refiled in New York last week after being dropped in California, and added a new witness, "Joan Doe," who confirmed Jane's account. A fourth woman, "Tiffany Doe," who is present in both suits, confirmed the accounts as well. The hearing is set for December.
The lawsuit, which accuses Trump of raping Jane multiple times at parties hosted by Epstein and seeks $75,000 in damages, is itself the subject of controversy. As Jezebel's Anna Merlan reported earlier this year, the suit was originally filed in California district court by a Katie Johnson last year and was pushed by multiple (male) PR professionals and lawyers who denied her the ability to speak to Johnson even while creepily imploring her to cover the lawsuit.
When it was refiled in New York in June, without the name Katie Johnson attached, several claims from the original lawsuit were gone, including that Trump had thrown money at his victim and told her to get an abortion and that Trump had referred to Epstein as a "Jew bastard." Also gone: Johnson's request for $100 million in damages. (Trump has denied all charges; Epstein is a convicted pedophile who also partied quite a lot with Bill Clinton.)
Shady as the people behind the lawsuit might be, federal judge Ronnie Abrams decided there is enough to move forward with the case, and has ordered both sides to provide information that will help her decide whether to move the suit along to a trial or a settlement procedure.
This is, of course, not the only time Trump has been accused of sexual assault or rape. In addition to his vulgar comments exposed Friday, a makeup artist named Jill Harth sued Trump in 1997 for making "unwanted sexual advances" before ultimately withdrawing the suit (she still stands by her claims, however). Additionally, Trump's ex-wife Ivana said in divorce proceedings that Trump had held her down and raped her in a deposition, though she later walked back her claims, saying she did not mean he raped her in a "literal or criminal sense."
UPDATE: Oct. 10, 2016, 4:11 pm: Cheney Mason, the attorney representing Jane Doe, told BuzzFeed the case will be tried, and Trump will have to answer questions under oath.
Read the full refiled lawsuit here:
Sam Stecklow is the Weekend Editor for Fusion.