A federal judge rejected Trump’s claim that he can’t be sued for defamation by E. Jean Carroll, and William’s Barr’s effort to defend him.
The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court in Manhattan, rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to step into the case and defend the president, and his ruling means that, for the moment, a lawsuit by the writer E. Jean Carroll can move forward against Mr. Trump, in his capacity as a private citizen.
Judge Kaplan, however, ruled against the department’s maneuver, saying Mr. Trump was not acting in his official capacity when he denied the accusation. “His comments concerned an alleged sexual assault that took place several decades before he took office, and the allegations have no relationship to the official business of the United States,” the judge wrote.
Barr had tried to get the case moved to federal court, and Trump removed as the defendant, which would have resulted in the charges being dismissed.
The ruling is a blow to Trump’s broad definition of presidential protections. This is not the first time that courts have rejected the president’s claims and his administration that he can’t be sued. The most high profile example being the Supreme Court on the matter of Trump’s tax returns.
Donald Trump has been using the presidency to dodge all sorts of lawsuits and prosecutions. Tuesday’s ruling sends the message that no president can do whatever they want. Presidents aren’t monarchs, and their behavior still must meet legal thresholds for protection.
The E. Jean Carroll ruling is a drop in the bucket compared to what is coming if Trump loses the election.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association