Dem Megadonor Secretly Funds Rape Lawsuit Against Donald Trump

LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman has secretly paid E. Jean Carroll's legal bills since 2020

Reid Hoffman / Getty Images
April 14, 2023

A tech billionaire with a history of funding Democratic disinformation operations and associating with notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has secretly funded a sexual assault lawsuit against former president Donald Trump.

LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman since 2020 has paid the legal bills for former journalist E. Jean Carroll through his nonprofit, American Future Republic, Trump's lawyers revealed in a court filing Thursday. Carroll sued Trump for defamation after he denied her allegation that he sexually assaulted her at a Bergdorf Goodman store in the mid-1990s. The trial for the lawsuit is scheduled to start this month.

Hoffman's involvement could further paint Carroll's lawsuit as a partisan attack. A major Democratic donor, Hoffman in 2020 gave $1.5 million to a super PAC supporting Joe Biden and has said he would "'spend as much as [he] possibly can' to avoid another Trump presidency." Carroll's lawsuit could also be clouded by Hoffman's affiliation with Epstein, whom he hosted in 2015 at a fundraising dinner for MIT Media Lab. The tech titan later apologized for "helping to repair" Epstein's image.

Trump's lawyers asserted that Hoffman's past antics raise "significant questions" as to Carroll's credibility and whether the lawsuit is a "'hoax' that was commenced and/or continued to advance a political agenda." They asked the judge handling the lawsuit to delay trial for one month and to allow for discovery related to Hoffman's support for Carroll. Hoffman has maintained access to the White House throughout the lawsuit. Visitor logs show he met twice with an assistant to top Biden adviser Anita Dunn.

Hoffman, who serves on the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Board, has funded several questionable political operations to boost Democrats. He financed a group that created fake social media accounts to trick Republican voters during the 2017 Alabama Senate special election. Hoffman was an early supporter of ACRONYM, a liberal dark money group behind Courier Newsroom, a network of liberal websites misleadingly designed to look like legitimate local news outlets.

Hoffman contributed to Integrity First for America, a progressive legal group that gave $620,000 to the legal defense fund for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind an infamous dossier that falsely claimed the Kremlin has videos of Trump with prostitutes in Moscow.

Dmitri Mehlhorn, a political adviser for Hoffman, said in a statement that Hoffman's financial support for Carroll's lawsuit was made through an unidentified organization that independently chooses whose legal cases to fund. Mehlhorn claimed he and Hoffman "had no prior knowledge" that the group would choose Carroll's case.

Mehlhorn did not identify the organization, but details match Integrity First for America, the legal group that contributed to Fusion GPS's legal defense fund.

Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, formed Integrity First for America in 2017 to "step up the legal pressure on President Donald Trump's business empire." Integrity First paid Kaplan's law firm nearly $4.4 million from 2017 to 2019, according to tax filings.

Kaplan, who also represented Trump's niece, Mary Trump, in her failed lawsuit over millions of dollars in family inheritance, has been at the center of other sex scandals. She was forced to resign as head of the feminist group Time's Up after revelations that she advised then-New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D.) on an op-ed he planned to write smearing a woman who accused him of sexual harassment.