DOJ will not defend Trump in new lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll

 July 14, 2023

Author E. Jean Carroll made headlines last month when she filed yet another lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, this time seeking $10 million.

Although the Department of Justice (DOJ) defended him in the previous suit, NBC News reported this week that it has since reversed course. 

"No longer a sufficient basis to conclude" Trump was acting within his duties

The DOJ submitted a court filing on Tuesday in which it said "there is no longer a sufficient basis to conclude that the former President was motivated by 'more than an insignificant' desire to serve the United States Government" when he made remarks about Carroll.

Carroll alleged that she had been lured by Trump into a New York City department store where he proceeded to rape her. Trump denied the assertion and accused the 79-year-old writer of perpetrating a hoax.

Carroll responded by suing Trump for battery and defamation, with a jury awarding her 5 million dollars. Its members believed that Trump had sexually assaulted her although stopped short of finding him liable for frape.

Trump again denied Carroll's claim during a May CNN town hall event in New Hampshire, calling her a "whack job." That led Carroll to launch another defamation suit.

Former AG Bill Barr said Trump was entitled to DOJ help

NBC News explained that when Carroll's original lawsuit was filed in 2019, then-Attorney General William Barr found Trump was entitled to assistance from the DOJ.

He pointed to the Westfall Act, which provides that federal employees enjoy absolute immunity from lawsuits stemming due to actions committed "in the course of their official duties."

However, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ultimately ruled that Trump wasn't covered by the Westfall Act as his statements weren't within the scope of his official conduct as president.

In its Tuesday court filing, the DOJ observed how "a jury has now found that Mr. Trump sexually assaulted Ms. Carroll long before he became President."

Carroll's attorney is "grateful" for DOJ's decision

"That history supports an inference that Mr. Trump was motivated by a 'personal grievance' stemming from events that occurred many years before Mr. Trump’s presidency," it concluded.

Roberta Kaplan serves as one of Carroll's attorneys, and NBC News noted that he issued a statement praising the DOJ for abandoning Trump.

"We are grateful that the Department of Justice has reconsidered its position," Kaplan declared, adding, "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 of the United States."

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