As President Donald Trump continues to fight for his political career in a hotly contested election, he may also find himself in a courtroom in the coming months as well, battling for his reputation.
That’s because a judge has now put a stop to an attempt by the Department of Justice to stand in for the President in a case in which he is accused of defamation.
A federal judge rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to substitute the United States for President Trump personally as the defendant in a high-profile defamation lawsuit tied to rape accusations against him.
Writer E. Jean Carroll, in a 2019 book, accused President Trump of raping her in the 1990s. Trump in turn called her a liar, and she sued him personally in state court for defamation.
The Justice Department had the suit shifted to federal court, and then moved to have the United States replace Trump as defendant altogether, arguing that she was effectively suing a U.S. government employee for actions performed in the course of his job.
The ruling was sternly worded.
But Manhattan Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected that argument.
“The President of the United States is not an ’employee of the Government’ within the meaning of the relevant statutes. 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. Accordingly, the motion to substitute the United States in place of President Trump … is denied,” he wrote.
There is no set date for Trump’s appearance in court.
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