The Justice Department will continue to defend Trump on the defamation lawsuit against E. Jean Carroll
The Justice Department says the problem has less to do with Trump’s “raw” language and more to do with whether his actions were carried out in the performance of his presidential duties.
Even under the Biden administration, the civil department of the Justice Department continues to represent former President Donald Trump in a defamation suit brought by E. Jean Carroll, who accused the billionaire politician of sexual assault.
According to The Washington Post, Carroll accused Trump of sexually abusing her in the 1990s.
However, Carroll’s lawsuit ran into a roadblock. Although Trump publicly branded Carroll as a liar, it was uncertain whether his denials came from his position as president or from a private capacity. Even so, Trump insisted that the Justice Department represent him.
That legal maneuver, the Post said, should have required a judge to determine that the state’s criminal offense to protect government employees from civil liability also applies to incumbent presidents.
However, despite the clear hostilities between President Biden and his predecessor, the Justice Department appears poised to continue its defense of Trump.
The US Department of Justice headquarters. Image via Wikimedia Commons / user: Coolcaesar. (CCA-BY-3.0)
“Then-President Trump’s response to Ms. Carroll’s grave allegations of sexual assault included statements that challenged her credibility in gross and disrespectful terms,” wrote Brian Boynton, acting director of the Department of Justice’s civil division. “But in this case, the issue is not whether Mr. Trump’s response was appropriate. Nor is it about the veracity of Ms. Carroll’s allegations. “
Instead, Boynton’s briefing suggested that the case should focus on several key issues, such as whether an incumbent president should be considered an “employee of the government” and whether Trump’s denials were made in the course of his official duties.
In the Justice Department letter, Boynton and other lawyers argued that Trump’s denial – made in front of the media – was undoubtedly expected of him as Commander in Chief.
“Talking to the public and the press about matters of public interest is undoubtedly part of the job of an elected official,” the letter reads.
“Courts have therefore consistently and repeatedly ruled that allegedly defamatory statements in this context fall within the scope of the employment of elected public officials – even if the statements were prompted by press inquiries about the public official’s private life,” said the civil department.
The letter also noted that when White House reporters asked for comments on Carroll’s allegations, “his questions were put to him in his capacity as President.”
Carroll’s attorneys, The Washington Post added, seemed incredulous that the Justice Department continued to support Trump.
“[It is] really shocking that the current Justice Department would allow Donald Trump to get away with lies [about raping Carroll]”, Said attorney Roberta Kaplan in a statement.
“The DOJ’s position is not only legally wrong, it is morally wrong as it would give federal officials the free license to cover up private sexual misconduct by publicly brutalizing any woman who has the courage to come forward” said Kaplan.
Biden DOJ plans to continue defending Trump in E. Jean Carroll’s libel suit
Justice Department continues appeal on Trump’s behalf on prosecutor’s defamation of sexual assault