- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A federal judge Tuesday denied the Justice Department’s bid to represent President Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought against him by a woman who claimed the president raped her in the 1990s.

The Justice Department had sought to substitute itself in the lawsuit filed by magazine writer E. Jean Carroll. The legal move would have ended the lawsuit because the federal government can’t be sued for defamation.

Department lawyers had argued that it could be substituted as a defendant because Mr. Trump was forced to respond to her lawsuit as part of his official capacity. They said since Mr. Trump responded to Ms. Carroll’s claims during official press conferences, the agency can represent him in the lawsuit.

But U.S. District Judge Lewis A Kaplan rejected the department’s argument, saying Mr. Trump is “not an ‘employee of the government.’”

“Even if he were such an ‘employee,’ President Trump’s allegedly defamatory statements concerning Ms. Carroll would not have been within the scope of his employment,” Judge Kaplan wrote.

Ms. Carroll has sued Mr. Trump for defamation. In public appearances, the president has denied her rape claim and accused Ms. Carroll of lying, saying “she’s not my type” and “it never happened.”

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