Federal Judge Just Brutally Grilled Trump Lawyer Over Ex-President’s Weak Presidential Duties Defense In E. Jean Carroll Assault/Defamation Suit, According To Report

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In a somewhat controversial move, Attorney General Merrick Garland recently agreed to defend Donald Trump in court in connection to the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit since Trump was the President at the time that he made his allegedly defamatory comment. On Friday, a federal appeals court heard arguments about the case, and a judge took issue with Trump quoted in an interview as saying, “I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened” about Carroll’s rape accusation, according to BuzzFeed News.

“That comment jumped out to Second Circuit Judge Denny Chin, who pressed Trump’s personal attorney Alina Habba to explain why the court should find that making that kind of comment was within Trump’s “scope of employment” as President,” the outlet reports.

“Who is he serving when he says something like, ‘she’s not my type?’ Is he serving the United States of America when he makes that statement?” Chin asked.

“Habba replied that it was part of his job as president because he had to respond to Carroll’s allegation to the extent it affected his ability to serve,” the report continues. “Chin replied that saying “she’s not my type” went beyond a denial. Habba, who recently took over as Trump’s lawyer in the case, replacing his longtime attorney Marc Kasowitz, responded that the judge was focused on the “content” of Trump’s comments when the issue in the case was “context” — that is, whether he was speaking as the President.”

Trump’s attorney said that the former President wasn’t trying to “hide” behind the protections given to federal employees against being sued. She went on to claim that Carroll’s allegations were “meritless.” Habba said that “what is of monumental importance right now is that this is not a political matter. This is not about being a Democrat or a Republican. It is solely to protect the presidency as an institution.”

“Judge William Nardini, one of Trump’s nominees to the court, asked Habba if their position was that, under DC law, everything a president said was protected,” the outlet reports. “Habba said that the limit would be if a president made an unprovoked attack on a private citizen. That argument faced skepticism from Nardini and Judge Guido Calabresi, confirmed under former president Bill Clinton, who asked Habba what legal precedent that argument was based on. Habba replied that she didn’t have a case to cite, that was her opinion, prompting Nardini to push her for an answer grounded in the law, saying they weren’t asking what she felt.”

Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who was acting as Trump’s attorney in the case at the time, previously claimed that the now-former President was acting in his official capacity as the President of the U.S. when he made the defamatory remark about Carroll. A federal judge rejected that claim.

You can read the full report here.

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