Here we are, months and months into longtime magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump in connection to allegations against him for raping her 20 years ago, and the United States Department of Justice is still serving as Trump’s defense team — meaning we’re still paying for it.
Carroll first filed the defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump back in 2019, after the then-president publicly denied her claim that he raped her in a department store fitting room in the mid-1990s. Trump asserted that Carroll was “totally lying” about the sexual assault. Ultimately, the US Department of Justice intervened on Donald’s behalf, defending Trump’s response to the accusations as comments made in his official capacity as President of the United States.
Last year a federal judge rejected the DOJ’s attempts to intervene on Donald Trump’s behalf. However, the Justice Department quickly appealed the ruling before Trump left office, leaving taxpayers to continue to foot the bill until the matter has been settled.
According to Carroll’s attorneys in a court filing last week, they claim that the DOJ is trying to sway the court to “adopt a new rule that would create categorical immunity for any federal official who defames anyone while speaking to the press or responding to perceived critics.”
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Lawyers for Trump’s accuser asserted in the filing, “This rule is both wrong and dangerous,” adding that it “reflects a disturbing belief that federal officials should have free rein to destroy the reputations and livelihoods of any perceived critic — no matter how unrelated to the business of governance.”
Ultimately, her team of attorneys has asked the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals court to make a ruling that “Trump did not act within the scope of his employment as President of the United States when he repeatedly, willfully defamed a private citizen to punish and retaliate against her after she revealed that he had sexually assaulted her decades before he took office.”
The DOJ simply won’t back down, though, arguing in their appeal that Donald Trump was discussing a matter of public concern when he denied the rape allegations against him, something his lawyers claim was “an issue potentially relevant to his ability to perform the duties of his office effectively.”
“The President… acts within the scope of his office when he responds to public critics,” the DOJ claimed in the court filing.
Trump infamously told reporters, “She’s not my type” when Carroll’s accusations first came out in her 2019 book “What Do We Need Men For?”
In a statement released last week, Carroll said:
Trump has tried and failed repeatedly to get my lawsuit booted. Last fall, he had his Justice Department intervene and try to get it dismissed in federal court. He lost. Then, just a week before President Biden’s inauguration, Trump’s private lawyers and the DOJ joined forces to argue on appeal that when Trump called me a liar who was too ugly to rape, he was somehow being presidential. This is offensive to me.”
She goes on to add that she is “confident that the Second Circuit will make it clear that no president, including Donald Trump, can get away scot-free with maliciously defaming a woman he sexually assaulted.”
As we previously reported, Carroll’s lawyers are seeking a DNA sample from Donald Trump to compare to the dress Carroll claims she was wearing when the assault took place decades ago.
“After Trump sexually assaulted me, I took the black dress I had been wearing and hung it in my closet,” Carroll said last year.
It’s clear to see that this situation is far from over. There’s no denying how deep the corruption runs between Donald Trump and the Department of Justice. But I can tell you now, we’re not interested in footing his bill.
You can read the full report from Salon’s Igor Derysh here.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/David Shankbone