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Justice Department moves to assist Trump in E. Jean Carroll lawsuit

The Department of Justice (DOJ) argued Tuesday that it should defend President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE instead of his personal attorneys in a defamation suit brought by author E. Jean Carroll, who has accused the president of raping her.

The DOJ, in a filing submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, cited the Federal Tort Claims Act in its request to take the case from Trump’s lawyers and move the suit from a state court to federal court, arguing that Trump was acting in his official presidential capacity when he denied knowing Carroll.

The act the DOJ cited provides for suits against the government.

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“Because President Trump was acting within the scope of his office or employment at the time of the incident out of which the plaintiff’s claim arose, the United States will file a motion to substitute itself for President Trump in this action” for claims falling under the Federal Tort Claims Act, acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark argued in the filing.

The request comes shortly after a New York state judge allowed Carroll to proceed with her suit, raising the prospect that Trump could be deposed in the case before Election Day in November.

Carroll first sued Trump in November 2019, claiming he lied when he said publicly that he had never met her. Carroll had accused Trump in a 2019 memoir of raping her almost 30 years ago in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store.

She is looking to obtain Trump’s deposition and pressure him to provide a DNA sample in order to determine if his genetic material is linked to material on a dress she says she was wearing at the time of the alleged assault. Trump has denied Carroll's allegations.

“Trump’s effort to wield the power of the U.S. government to evade responsibility for his private misconduct is without precedent,” Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said in a statement to The New York Times, “and shows even more starkly how far he is willing to go to prevent the truth from coming out.”