Biden Justice Department seeks to take on Trump rape defamation suit

Donald Trump speaks to E Jean Carroll in 1987

This isn't the first time the new Justice Department has taken up its predecessor's attempts to directly protect Trump.

One of the best things about seeing Donald Trump booted from office (besides, you know, literally everything) was seeing his attorney general Bill Barr get booted with him.

U.S. justice department officials say Donald Trump can not be held personally liable for "crude and disrespectful" remarks he made while president about a woman who accused him of rape. Trump claims his statements denying Carroll's claim were part of his official duties.

"But this case does not concern whether Mr Trump's response was appropriate".

"Even reprehensible conduct. can fall within the scope of employment", the lawyers wrote, conceding that Trump used "crude and disrespectful" language in questioning Carroll's credibility.

Carroll made her allegation against Trump in an article published by New York Magazine in June 2019.

The DOJ argued Monday that the Federal Tort Claims Act, a law that shields federal employees from individual damages claims, and the Westfall Act, which allows employees to be removed from lawsuits as defendants and replaced by the USA government, apply to Trump in this case.

Mike Stern, who served as senior counsel to the House of Representatives from 1996 to 2004 and dealt with the Westfall Act involving members of Congress, said it's likely the DOJ will win its argument.

Ms Carroll, a columnist for Elle, alleged Mr Trump had raped her in the dressing room of a department store.

The new administration had not been expected to appeal the decision.

The lawsuit filed by the columnist, E. Jean Carroll, alleges Trump defamed her when he denied raping her, said she wasn't his type and claimed she made the allegation to boost sales of her new book.

Though Carroll's lawyer expressed confidence in the appeal, the Justice Department's move will further delay resolution Carroll's litigation.

"The DOJ's position is not only legally wrong, it is morally wrong since it would give federal officials free license to cover up private sexual misconduct by publicly brutalizing any woman who has the courage to come forward", she said on Twitter. "We remain confident that Judge Kaplan's decision will be affirmed by the Second Circuit", she added.

An excerpt from the book, obtained by Vanity Fair, said Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio tried to debunk the theory in a campaign memo.

Last month the department acknowledged that during the Trump administration it had acquired telephone records of reporters who work for the Washington Post and the phone and email records of a reporter for CNN - two news outlets repeatedly criticized by the president.

After Carroll's 2019 accusation, Trump said that he never met Carroll and accused her of fabricating the allegations to sell her book or to "carry out a political agenda".

Donald Trump in a rare public appearance yesterday.

Because New York had a five-year statute of limitations for rape in the 1990s, Ms Carroll was unable to press charges when she chose to come forward in 2017.

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