Get 40% Off
🚀 Our AI Picked 6 Stocks that Jumped +25% in Q1. Which Picks Will Soar in Q2?Unlock full list

US says it no longer deems Donald Trump immune from E. Jean Carroll lawsuit

Published 07/11/2023, 03:45 PM
Updated 07/12/2023, 03:10 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: E. Jean Carroll reacts as she exits the Manhattan Federal Court following the verdict in the civil rape accusation case against former U.S. President Donald Trump, in New York City, U.S., May 9, 2023.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Donald Trump suffered a legal defeat on Tuesday as the U.S. government reversed its earlier position that the former president could be immune from the writer E. Jean Carroll's $10 million defamation lawsuit against him.

In a letter to Trump's and Carroll's lawyers, the U.S. Department of Justice said it no longer believed Trump acted within the scope of his office and employment as president in June 2019, when he denied having raped Carroll in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

The department late in Trump's presidency had reached an opposite conclusion, which the Biden administration adopted to the surprise of some observers.

Its change of heart means it will not try to substitute itself as the defendant, effectively ending Carroll's case because the government cannot be sued for defamation.

"Evidence of Mr. Trump's state of mind, some of which has come to light only after the department last made a certification decision, does not establish that he made the statements at issue with a 'more than insignificant' purpose to serve the United States government," the department said.

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson of Trump, said the step showed that the Justice Department under President Joe Biden was "politically weaponizing the justice system" against Trump. He dismissed the department's move as "a partisan sham."

Carroll's lawyer Roberta Kaplan said the change removes a possible impediment to the scheduled Jan. 15, 2024 trial in Manhattan federal court.

"We have always believed that Donald Trump made his defamatory statements about our client in June 2019 out of personal animus, ill will and spite, and not as president," Kaplan said.

DEFAMATION COUNTERCLAIM

Carroll, 79, sued Trump, 77, after he responded to her rape claim by saying he had not known the former Elle magazine columnist, that she was not his "type," and that she lied to boost sales of her memoir.

She sued a second time after a similar Oct. 2022 denial, leading on May 9 to a $5 million jury verdict against Trump for defaming and sexually abusing - but not raping - Carroll. Trump is appealing that verdict.

Earlier on Tuesday, Carroll asked a judge in a filing to dismiss Trump's countersuit that she defamed him by repeating her claim that he raped her.

Her lawyers called the countersuit Trump's latest effort to "spin" his trial loss by claiming she caused "significant harm" to his reputation and an "inordinate amount of damages" by implying after the verdict that the assault was also a rape.

They also said Trump sprung his counterclaim too late, to further delay "this otherwise trial-ready, much-delayed case."

Trump, who is again seeking the presidency, sued Carroll on June 27, objecting to a CNN interview following the verdict where she said "oh yes he did, oh yes he did" when asked about the jury finding that he did not commit rape.

In their filing, Carroll's lawyers said she did not say "oh yes he did" with actual malice, which would mean she knew or had reckless disregard for whether the statement was false.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: E. Jean Carroll reacts as she exits the Manhattan Federal Court following the verdict in the civil rape accusation case against former U.S. President Donald Trump, in New York City, U.S., May 9, 2023.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

They also said the statement was "substantially true," and therefore not defamatory, and simply reflected what was on Carroll's mind as the verdict was read.

The case is Carroll v Trump, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 20-07311.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.