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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 Trump Pence said he's 'proud' Congress certified Biden's win on Jan. 6 Americans put the most trust in their doctor for COVID-19 information: poll OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Biden administration to evacuate Afghans who helped US l Serious differences remain between US and Iran on nuclear talks l US, Turkish officials meet to discuss security plans for Afghan airport 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 BarrEnergized Trump probes pose problems for Biden Pavlich: Biden can't ignore defund the police contributions to violent crime spike Progressives slam Garland for DOJ stances on Trump-era cases 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.”