NEW YORK (AP) – Justice Department attorneys on Friday asked a federal appeals court to replace President Donald Trump with the United States as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who claims he raped her in the 1990s.
The attorneys filed papers to appeal the decision of a Manhattan judge alleging substitution in a lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll, a columnist who wrote a June 2019 book about her encounter with Trump in an upscale Manhattan department store described, was rejected.
The book excerpt prompted Trump to deny the allegations and question Carroll’s credibility and motivation in a statement from his White House press office, in comments in an interview with the Oval Office, and in statements to the media when he got into a helicopter for camp David rose, said the lawyers. Carroll then sued Trump for defamation.
Government attorneys said the statements fell within the scope of his appointment as president because Carroll actually questioned his suitability for public office and therefore statements had to be made, even if they were later viewed as defamatory.
If the substitution were allowed, U.S. taxpayers would be responsible for any payout that could lead to litigation.
Justice Department attorneys wrote that Trump, who is expected to respond to media questions on questions of public interest, is acting within the scope of his duties when “he is trying to defuse personal problems that affect his ability to address his To reach the agenda, threaten to impair it ”.
“Likewise, the president is acting … within the scope of his duties in responding to public critics,” they said.
Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan said the president’s inauguration of Joe Biden next week could affect the case.
“We anticipate that the new Justice Department under President Biden will long and thoroughly examine whether they agree with Donald Trump that his hateful and defamatory statements about E Jean Carroll were made as part of his tenure as President of the United States,” wrote Kaplan in an email.
Carroll has claimed she and Trump recognized each other when they happened upon each other in the luxury store. She claims their encounter involved lighthearted jokes until Trump got aggressive and then raped her in a locker room.
After the book was published, Trump said Carroll “totally lied” to sell her memoir and that he never met her. He said a 1987 photo of her and her then-spouses at a social event captured a moment while he was standing in line.