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Federal judge moves E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit against Trump forward

A federal judge on Thursday signaled columnist E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE can move forward, scheduling a telephone conference in the case for Dec. 11.

Carroll sued Trump for defamation after he accused her of lying when she alleged he sexually assaulted her in her 2019 book “What Do We Need Men For?”

The Justice Department sought to take over the case in September, claiming Trump called Carroll a liar in his capacity as president. Judge Lewis Kaplan denied the motion to intervene in October.

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"The president of the United States is not an 'employee of the government' within the meaning of the relevant statutes," he wrote. "Even if he were such an 'employee,' President Trump's allegedly defamatory statements concerning Ms. Carroll would not have been within the scope of his employment."

Carroll's attorney, Roberta Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, indicated that the defamation case was moving forward in a statement to ABC News

“We look forward to finally moving ahead with discovery in the case, which has been on hold since Trump filed his motion for a stay last February, and look forward to the initial conference in E Jean Carroll’s case on Dec. 11, if the parties cannot agree on a schedule,” Roberta Kaplan said in the statement.

Federal employees are shielded from most defamation lawsuits, meaning the suit would likely have been dismissed if the Justice Department intervention was allowed.

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrNew DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day MORE defended the federal intervention, saying “the little tempest that's going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live.”