DOJ appeals decision on Trump in E. Jean Carroll rape claim case

E. Jean Carroll visits ‘Tell Me Everything’ with John Fugelsang in the SiriusXM Studios on July 11, 2019 in New York.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said that it is appealing a federal judge’s decision that kept President Donald Trump as the defendant in a defamation lawsuit filed by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who claims he raped her two decades ago.

The judge, Lewis Kaplan, last month barred the Justice Department from having the U.S. government replacing Trump as the defendant in the lawsuit.

Kaplan’s ruling effectively saved Carroll’s lawsuit from dismissal.

Attorney General William Barr has said that if the government was swapped in as a defendant, as he wanted it to bem then the case would be tossed out because the government had not waived sovereign immunity, as the protection from the government being sued is known as.

The Justice Department has argued that Trump was acting as a government employee when he said Carroll was lying and motivated by money with her allegation that he attacked her in a New York department store dressing room.

Kaplan flatly rejected that argument.

“The President of the United States is not an employee of the Government within the meaning of the relevant statutes,” Kaplan wrote in a 59-page ruling released in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Oct. 27..

“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,” Kaplan wrote.

“Accordingly, the motion to substitute the United States in place of President Trump is denied.”

The Justice Department’s appeal is being filed in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, according to its filing in Manhattan federal court.

A spokeswoman for Carroll’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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