US District Judge Lewis Kaplan has stopped the Department of Justice (DOJ) from intervening in the defamation lawsuit filed against President Donald Trump. The plaintiff, E. Jean Carroll, filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump after the president insinuated that her claims that he raped her in a luxury department dressing room over 20 years ago were done in a bid to sell her book.
The DOJ sought to intervene in the defamation suit by answering the charges instead of Trump, and subsequently ending the case since no one can use the federal government, but Judge Kaplan disagreed.
Judge Kaplan ruled that President Trump is not an “employee of the Government,” as stipulated by U.S laws and that the claims of the DOJ that Trump was an employee of the federal government are false. As a result, Trump must answer the charges himself. The DOJ has not stated whether it will appeal the judge’s decision or not.
The department had presented its arguments before the judge stating that Trump’s statement about Carroll’s claims was a part of his official duties but Kaplan ruled against the notion, stating that the statements were not made in his official capacity as the president.
“While commenting on the operation of government is part of the regular business of the United States, commenting on sexual assault allegations unrelated to the operation of government is not,” Kaplan wrote in his 61-page opinion.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, told reporters that Trump had made defamatory statements against her client just because she had the bravery to speak up about how he allegedly raped her. Kaplan also explains that such derogatory and ruthless attacks on her client’s personality cannot be classified as the duty of the president of the United States.
The case will now be heard in a federal court. The case started in a state court in New York and after the president denied the allegations, a trial court judge ruled that Carroll and her lawyer could continue the lawsuit in August. Carroll’s lawyers had revealed plans to obtain Trump’s DNA samples and take his statement under oath. Not long after the announcement, the DOJ tried to intervene by replacing the president as the defendant in the lawsuit.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Carroll explained that she feels very happy about Judge Kaplan’s decision because she had spoken against Trump and not the federal government, and when Trump had made the defamatory statements on her character, he was not acting in his capacity as president.