Trump's Legal Strategy in Rape Case Is Rejected

Justice Department said US government, not Trump himself, should be defendant
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 27, 2020 9:00 AM CDT
Judge Rejects Trump's Legal Strategy in Rape Case
E. Jean Carroll, center, who says President Trump raped her in the 1990s, speaks to reporters as she leaves the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse following a hearing in her defamation lawsuit against Trump, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in New York.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

A federal judge on Tuesday denied President Trump's request that he be replaced as the defendant in a defamation lawsuit alleging he raped a woman in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, per the AP. The decision by US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan came after the Justice Department argued that the United States—and by extension US taxpayers—should replace Trump as the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the columnist E. Jean Carroll. The government’s lawyers contended that the United States could step in as the defendant because Trump was forced to respond to her lawsuit to prove he was physically and mentally fit for the job. The judge ruled that a law protecting federal employees from being sued individually for things they do within the scope of their employment didn't apply to a president.

But even if it did, Kaplan ruled, Trump’s public denials of the rape allegation would have come outside the scope of his employment. Lawyers for Carroll had written that "only in a world gone mad could it somehow be presidential, not personal, for Trump to slander a woman who he sexually assaulted." Carroll, a former longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, said in her lawsuit that in the fall of 1995 or spring of 1996 she and Trump met in a chance encounter when they recognized each other at the Bergdorf Goodman store. She accuses Trump of raping her in a dressing room. Trump said Carroll was “totally lying” to sell a memoir. Carroll, who wants unspecified damages and a retraction of Trump's statements, also seeks a DNA sample from Trump to see whether it matches genetic material found on a dress she says she was wearing.

(More President Trump stories.)

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