United States ‘cannot replace Trump in columnist’s defamation lawsuit’

Elias Hubbard
October 28, 2020

A federal court judge on Tuesday rejected the Department of Justice's efforts to halt a defamation suit by columnist E. Jean Carroll, who alleged that Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s.

The DOJ's intervention put that process on hold.

Trump has denied Carroll's allegation that he raped her in the 1990s.

But Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Federal District Court in Manhattan argued that the USA president was not an "employee" within the meaning of that law - the Tort Claims Act.

Mr Trump's critics say that during his presidency he has compromised the DoJ, which is meant to operate independently of the White House.

She sued the Republican billionaire in November 2019 in NY state, accusing him of defamation for saying she was "totally lying" about the assault.

She said the US Supreme Court's recent rejection of Trump's claim of absolute immunity from criminal proceedings while in office applied to state court proceedings involving his unofficial or personal conduct. "Judge Kaplan's words speak for themselves".

"The President of the United States is not an "employee of the Government" within the meaning of the relevant statutes", wrote Judge Lewis Caplan in the decision, reviewed by TheWrap.

How did E Jean Carroll respond?

Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said Tuesday: "The simple truth is that President Trump defamed our client because she was courageous enough to reveal that he had sexually assaulted her, and that brutal, personal attack can not be attributed to the Office of the President". "I am happy that Judge Kaplan recognised these basic truths".

A lawyer for Carroll, Roberta Kaplan, called it a clear victory for her client.

What does E Jean Carroll allege?

She claimed he asked her help to buy a gift for a woman and the pair settled on some lingerie.

She said they engaged in a lighthearted chat about trying on a see-through lilac grey bodysuit when they made their way to a dressing room, where she said Trump pushed her against a wall and raped her.

"We look forward to moving forward with E. Jean Carroll's defamation case against Donald Trump in his personal capacity in federal court", she added.

Both Mr Trump and Ms Carroll were aged around 50 at the time, and he was married to Marla Maples.

During those interviews, Trump claimed Carroll was "totally lying" to sell a book and denied ever meeting her, though they were photographed together in the late 1980s.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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