Donald Trump setback in rape defamation case

Donald Trump setback in rape defamation case
E Jean Carroll said she was happy the judge had recognised some "basic truths". Source: Reuters
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: A US federal judge has dismissed an effort by the Department of Justice (DoJ) to defend President Trump in a case brought by a woman who accuses him of raping her.

Columnist E Jean Carroll accuses the US President of assaulting her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.

In a lawsuit, she argues Mr Trump defamed her when he denied her claim and said she was “totally lying”.

The Department of Justice had sought to put itself in the dock as defendant, instead of Mr Trump.

Citing a law designed to protect federal employees from being sued over actions stemming from the performance of their duties, the DoJ argued that he was serving in his capacity as president when he denied Ms Carroll’s allegation.

But Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Federal District Court in Manhattan argued that the US president was not an “employee” within the meaning of that law – the Tort Claims Act.

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

The case was filed in November 2019 in New York state court and Mr Trump was represented by his personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz.

The Justice department had raised this to a federal court level, where the case would pit Ms Carroll against the US government – not Mr Trump as a private citizen.

According to experts, the move would have brought the lawsuit to an end as the federal government cannot be sued for defamation.

Judge Kaplan’s ruling means the original case can now go ahead.

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