E. Jean Carroll’s attorneys move to block DOJ intervention in lawsuit against Trump
Writer E. Jean Carroll’s attorneys moved to block the Department of Justice (DOJ) from intervening in her defamation lawsuit against President Trump through a Monday motion.
Carroll’s lawyers Roberta Kaplan and Joshua Matz countered the DOJ’s request from last month to defend the president through a motion to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Carroll has accused the president of raping her in the 1990s and sued Trump for defamation in November after he responded to the allegations by denying knowing her.
In Monday’s filing, the attorneys rejected the DOJ’s assertion that the president was “acting within the scope of his office” when he said he didn’t know her and denied her rape allegations.
“There is not a single person in the United States — not the President and not anyone else — whose job description includes slandering women they sexually assaulted,” the lawyers wrote.
They labeled the DOJ’s move as “another stratagem” for Trump to “avoid accountability,” noting the president has claimed parts of his actions while in office, such as his tweets and business deals, were private, while other actions like comments on Carroll are considered part of his public role.
“The Justice Department intervened to shield Trump from legal accountability only after his state court stall tactics, procedural gambits, and assertions of immunity were all rejected,” the lawyers wrote.
“Only in a world gone mad,” they added, “could it somehow be presidential, not personal, for Trump to slander a woman who he sexually assaulted.”
The White House deferred comment to the DOJ, which did not immediately return a request for comment.
Last month, the Justice Department made the unusual move of requesting to replace Trump’s private lawyers and move Carroll’s defamation case to federal court, saying Trump was acting in his official presidential capacity when commenting on the writer.
The action came after a New York judge ruled that Carroll’s defamation case could continue in the court after the president’s legal team repeatedly tried to delay the suit.
Attorney General William Barr defended the department’s actions during a press conference last month, calling the case law “crystal clear.” He later said the White House directed the DOJ’s action.
“The little tempest that’s going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live,” he said.
If the court accepts the DOJ’s request, “Carroll’s complaint would be effectively dismissed,” The New York Times reported.
Carroll, a columnist for Elle magazine, wrote in her 2019 memoir that Trump raped her almost 30 years ago in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store. The president has denied the allegations.
She has requested a DNA sample from Trump to see if it is linked to material on a dress she said she wore during the alleged assault.
More than a dozen women have accused the president of sexual misconduct before he was elected, which Trump has denied.
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