Trump’s Liability in Defamation Lawsuit Reinstated by Justice Department

by Gabriel Martinez
defamation lawsuit

In a significant turn of events, the Justice Department has reversed its stance on former President Donald Trump’s legal immunity in a defamation lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll. Previously, the department had asserted that Trump was shielded from the lawsuit due to his presidential status at the time of the alleged defamatory remarks. However, in a recent letter submitted to the federal court in Manhattan, the department now acknowledges that Trump can indeed be held personally liable for his statements about Carroll’s rape accusation.

The Justice Department’s letter clarifies that there is no longer a solid basis to conclude that Trump’s comments regarding Carroll’s claims were primarily motivated by a genuine desire to serve the country. By retracting its previous position, the department nullifies the protection granted to Trump under the Westfall Act, which traditionally provides federal employees absolute immunity from lawsuits related to their official duties.

This development significantly strengthens Carroll’s defamation case against Trump. The lawsuit was initially filed in 2020 and is scheduled for trial in January of next year. The jury, in a previous ruling, awarded Carroll $5 million in damages after finding that Trump had sexually abused her in 1996. However, they rejected her rape claim. The trial originated from a legal opportunity provided by New York state, allowing victims of sexual abuse to pursue civil claims for incidents that occurred even decades ago.

The Justice Department’s revised stance in the letter to the court takes into account the jury’s verdict, Trump’s deposition in October, and additional defamatory remarks made by Trump about Carroll during a CNN town hall after the trial concluded. This new evidence bolsters Carroll’s original defamation lawsuit and removes one of the final obstacles impeding its progression towards trial.

Robbie Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, expressed gratitude for the Justice Department’s reconsideration and emphasized that Trump’s defamatory statements were born out of personal animosity, not as acts of the President of the United States. As of now, no immediate comments have been made by Trump’s legal team in response to this development.

In a separate development earlier in the day, Carroll’s lawyers challenged a counterclaim made by Trump’s legal team in the defamation lawsuit. Trump’s lawyers alleged that Carroll had defamed him through her post-verdict comments, particularly by reiterating her claim that he had raped her. Carroll’s legal team swiftly dismissed the counterclaim, asserting that it was merely an attempt to downplay Trump’s loss at trial.

It is worth noting that news outlets like The Big Big News generally do not disclose the identities of individuals who have reported being sexually assaulted, unless the individuals have voluntarily come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about defamation lawsuit

What is the significance of the Justice Department reversing its position on Donald Trump’s immunity?

The Justice Department reversing its position means that Donald Trump can now be held personally liable in the defamation lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll. Previously, Trump was protected by immunity as a result of his presidential status when he made the remarks about Carroll’s rape accusation. This reversal allows the lawsuit to proceed and potentially holds Trump accountable for his statements.

What led to the Justice Department’s change in stance?

The Justice Department cited a lack of sufficient basis to conclude that Trump’s remarks about Carroll’s claims were motivated by more than an insignificant desire to serve the United States. This change in stance was influenced by the jury’s verdict, Trump’s deposition, and new claims made by Carroll herself, which suggested that Trump had defamed her again with comments made after the trial. These factors prompted the department to reconsider its previous position.

What impact does this have on E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit?

The Justice Department’s revised stance strengthens Carroll’s defamation case against Trump. With the removal of Trump’s immunity protection, Carroll can now proceed with her lawsuit and seek damages for the alleged defamation. This development is a positive step for Carroll and increases the likelihood of the case reaching trial.

What was the jury’s ruling in the initial trial?

The jury ruled in favor of Carroll, awarding her $5 million in damages. They concluded that Trump had sexually abused her in 1996 but rejected her rape claim. The trial arose from Carroll’s lawsuit, which she filed after New York state temporarily allowed victims of sexual abuse to make civil claims for incidents that occurred many years ago.

When is the trial scheduled to take place?

The trial for Carroll’s defamation lawsuit is scheduled to begin in January of next year. This comes after a series of appeals and delays regarding whether Trump could be held liable for his statements made while serving as president. The trial will address the claims made by Carroll and the alleged defamatory remarks made by Trump about her.

What is the response from the involved parties?

Carroll’s lawyer, Robbie Kaplan, welcomed the Justice Department’s reversal, stating that it removes one of the last obstacles in bringing the lawsuit to trial. Lawyers for Trump have not immediately commented on the recent development. Earlier in the day, Carroll’s lawyers challenged a counterclaim made by Trump’s legal team, dismissing it as an attempt to downplay his loss at trial. The response from both sides is still evolving as the legal proceedings continue.

More about defamation lawsuit

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NewsJunkie99 July 12, 2023 - 1:13 am

I’m glad to see that E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case against Trump is moving forward. It’s important that individuals are held accountable for their words and actions, regardless of their position. Justice should prevail!

LegalEagle July 12, 2023 - 6:22 pm

The justice department’s reversal is a significant development in this defamation lawsuit. It shows that no one is above the law, not even a former president. It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds in the upcoming trial.

TrumpSupporter1 July 12, 2023 - 9:13 pm

omg this is just another witch hunt against trump! they keep tryin to bring him down with these lawsuits. it’s so unfair. he’s innocent! #trump2024

TrumpFanatic123 July 12, 2023 - 11:09 pm

This is all just a politically motivated attack on Trump. They can’t accept that he was a great president, so they’re trying to drag him down with baseless lawsuits. It’s a disgrace!

Reader23 July 12, 2023 - 11:21 pm

justice department finally woke up & said trump can be sued by e jean carroll. lol took them long enuf to figure it out. now lawsuit can go on & carroll mite get her money. bout time tbh


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