US 'can't replace Trump in slander suit'

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The US Department of Justice wanted to defend Donald Trump against a writer accusing him of rape, but a federal judge refused Tuesday, saying that Trump's statements for which he is being sued for defamation do not fall within the scope of his presidential duties.

And the Justice Department took the lawsuit to the level of federal court, where Carroll's case would have turned into a case against the United States government - not against Trump as a private citizen.

A ruling for the government would have shielded Trump from liability and likely doomed Carroll's defamation claim. The DOJ argued that Trump was acting as a government employee when he attacked Carroll and said that she was lying and only motivated by money with her allegation, thus the government should be the defendant and not Trump.

Attorney General William Barr and the Justice Department argued that the same principal applied in the Carroll case. He also said Trump did not make his statements about Carroll in the scope of his employment as president.

Kaplan wrote that Trump's comments concerned an alleged sexual assault that predates his time in office, and the allegations against him "have no relationship to the official business of the United States".

The Justice Department in September sought to defend Trump behind a law that protects federal employees from litigation.

E Jean Carroll leaves the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse on 21 October.

Carroll's lawyer celebrated Tuesday's ruling, which came just one week before Election Day.

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He has denied the claims of several women who accused him of sexual misconduct occurring before he took office.

Carroll's attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said the case will now be filed in federal court, adding: "This personal and brutal attack can not be attributed to the position of president".

"The simple truth is that President Trump defamed our client because she was fearless enough to reveal that he had sexually assaulted her, and that brutal, personal attack can not be attributed to the office of the President", she said.

US President Donald Trump, joined by members of the coronavirus task force, speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, in the press briefing room of the White House on 25 March 2020 in Washington, DC. "I'm glad Judge Kaplan understood these basic facts", said Carroll - who was a columnist for Elle - in a statement.

That lawsuit proceeded normally until last month, when the Justice Department took the unusual step of intervening in the case.

Carroll published her claims in a 2019 book, alleging that Trump had raped her in the dressing room of an upscale department store.

Mr Kaplan said it would be different if Mr Trump were being challenged in court over his official conduct. In an emergency, call 000. The Men's Referral Service provides advice for men on domestic violence and can be contacted on 1300 766 491.

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