A federal judge on Tuesday rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to be the defendant in E Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against President Trump.
Carroll, a former Elle columnist, claimed Donald Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s.
“While the president possesses all of the executive power of the United States, he is not an ’employee’ within the meaning of the FTCA,” Judge Lewis Kaplan said, referring to the Federal Tort Claims Act, which shields federal employees from individual damages claims. “The FTCA’s definition of that term does not include presidents.”
Carroll has described the Justice Department’s attempted intervention in her case as part of a pattern of the Justice Department acting as President Trump’s personal law firm.
“There is not a single person in the United States — not the president and not anyone else — whose job description includes slandering women they sexually assaulted,” Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, wrote earlier this month in a legal brief.
Judge Kaplan, no relation, appeared to agree.
“The government thus asserts that this case is virtually identical in principle to a lawsuit against a Postal Service driver for causing a car accident while delivering the mail,” he said in the decision. “But the word ‘virtually’ in the last sentence is necessary because there is an important difference between this case and the case of the hypothetical mail driver.”
After Carroll made public her allegation, President Trump said in June of 2019: “No. 1 she’s not my type. No. 2 it never happened.”
Carroll sued Trump in 2019, accusing him of defaming her with his denials.
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