Trumps wins the ruling: in a defamation lawsuit filed by columnist E. Jean Carroll, a federal appeals court allowed the Justice Department to protect former President Donald Trump for his conduct while he was president.
In a 2-1 decision, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan asked a Washington, D.C., appeals court to rule on whether Trump is protected from liability under the laws of that district. The Manhattan court, however, accepted the argument of Trump that he could be qualified as an employee of the US government when he allegedly defamed Carroll, an underlying condition of his immunity claim.
Denny Chin, a dissenting judge, would have permitted Carroll to pursue “at least some” of these claims, stating “Carroll’s allegations plausibly paint a picture of a man pursuing a personal vendetta against an accuser.” Chin, in his dissent, claimed that Trump served “no federal government purpose” when discussing Carroll’s case, said Reuters.
Chin said, “In the context of an accusation of rape, the comment ‘she’s not my type’ surely is not something one would expect the President of the United States to say in the course of his duties.”
Under both the Trump and Biden administrations, the Justice Department has supported Trump’s claims that the US government should be replaced by Trump as a defendant. The move would effectively force the dismissal of the defamation case.
The appeals court wrote, “Under the circumstances, we cannot say what the District would do in this case. Under the laws of the District, were the allegedly libelous public statements made, during his term in office, by the President of the United States, denying allegations of misconduct, with regards to events prior to that term of office, within the scope of his employment as President of the United States?”
As part of her lawsuit in 2019, Carroll claimed Trump defamed her by denying that he raped her in a New York department store locker room in the mid-1990s. Carroll’s lawyers said that she intends to sue Trump under a new New York law allowing assault victims to sue after years.
Trump says Carroll made the claim to boost the sales of her book. He denies all allegations and reportedly said she is not his type. In a statement, Alina Habba, the lawyer of Trump, welcomed the decision: “We are extremely pleased with the Second Circuit’s decision today in reversing and vacating the District Court’s finding in this matter. This decision will protect the ability of all future Presidents to effectively govern without hindrance.”
They claimed a federal law shielding government workers from defamation suits protected him from Carroll’s lawsuit. In addition, they warns that continuing this case could trigger a wave of bogus lawsuits every time the president speaks.
According to the US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, Trump was not a government employee, but even if he was, his remarks about Carroll exceeded his scope of employment. Last November, Summer Zervos ended her defamation suit against Trump, who she had accused of assault on “The Apprentice.”