Trump Appeals E. Jean Carroll Sexual Abuse Verdict

Former US President Donald Trump has appealed a decision that ruled out the possibility of the Department of Justice (DOJ) stepping in to defend him in a defamation lawsuit by E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of sexual assault. Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist, accused Trump in a 2019 book of raping her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s. Trump denied the allegations and called her a liar. Carroll sued Trump for defamation in 2019, claiming his comments damaged her reputation.

In November 2021, a New York federal judge ruled that the DOJ cannot intervene in the case because the alleged misconduct happened outside the scope of Trump’s presidential duties. The DOJ had argued that the former president was acting within his official duties when he denied Carroll’s allegations, and therefore, the case should be dismissed.

On Monday, Trump’s lawyers filed an appeal, arguing that the judge made an error of law and that the DOJ has the power to defend Trump under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Trump’s legal team also questioned the reasoning behind the decision and asked the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse it.

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said in a statement that Trump’s appeal is “frivolous” and “just another attempt to avoid accountability for his repeated attacks on our client and on women generally.” Kaplan added that Carroll looks forward to the appeals court affirming the lower court’s decision and allowing the case to proceed.

The case could set a precedent for whether or not a sitting president can be sued for defamation for actions taken before taking office. It could also determine whether the DOJ can defend a president in a private lawsuit relating to their personal conduct.

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