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Trump wins defamation lawsuit filed by Carroll

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

In a lawsuit filed by famed columnist E Jean Carroll regarding Trump's alleged rape of her in the 1990s, a federal appeals court in Manhattan found in favor of former president Donald Trump.

During his presidency, Carroll was able to sue Trump for defamatory statements, but a lower court erred in allowing him to do so. In a decision on Sept. 27, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that a lower court erred by deciding Carroll could sue Trump, given that the Westfall Act shields government employees from liability.

A lawsuit Carroll filed in 2019 alleged that Trump sexually assaulted her in a dressing room at a Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in the mid-1990s. Because the alleged attack happened decades ago, Carroll was originally barred from suing over sexual battery, pushing her to sue for defamation over allegedly disparaging comments Trump made about the rape allegation.

Trump denied her allegation at the time and accused her of using false claims as a way to promote her book. “I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened,” the-then president told The Hill in an interview at the White House in June 2019.

The D.C. Court of Appeals is now asked to weigh in on whether Trump was acting within the scope of his presidential duties when he denied raping Carroll and dismissed her during the interview.

A ruling by the 2nd Circuit judges suggests that if Trump was, he would be immune from the lawsuit. Defamation lawsuits would be rejected because United States government employees can be sued for wrongdoing, but they cannot sue the government itself for defamation.

28 September 2022


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