KEY POINTS

  • Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled the DOJ could not substitute itself for Donald Trump as the defendant in a defamation suit, which would have effectively ended proceedings
  • E. Jean Carroll alleges that Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s, and sued him when he said he wouldn't have raped her since she "wasn't his type"
  • The case can now go forward in its efforts to secure a DNA sample from Trump and force him to testify

A federal court judge on Tuesday rejected the Department of Justice’s efforts to halt a defamation suit by columnist E. Jean Carroll, who alleged that Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s. The Justice Department had sought to substitute itself as the defendant, but U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that they could not and the case could proceed.

The Justice Department in September sought to defend Trump behind a law that protects federal employees from litigation. Should Trump have been found guilty, taxpayers would have had to pay the lawsuit damages. But most likely, the case would have been dismissed.

Carroll published her claims in a 2019 book, alleging that Trump had raped her in the dressing room of an upscale department store. Trump denied the allegations, saying he wouldn’t have raped her since she’s “not his type.” The defamation suit claims Trump harmed Carroll's reputation by denying the attack and branding her a liar.

President Donald Trump said opponent Joe Biden will 'abolish' the US oil industry President Donald Trump said opponent Joe Biden will 'abolish' the US oil industry Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB

Judge Kaplan rejected the argument, saying that “while commenting on the operation of government is part of the regular business of the United States, commenting on sexual assault allegations unrelated to the operation of government is not.”

The decision means that the lawsuit can move forward with Trump as a private citizen.

"The simple truth is that President Trump defamed our client because she was brave enough to reveal that he had sexually assaulted her, and that brutal, personal attack cannot be attributed to the office of the president," Carroll's legal team said in a statement.

The suit is now set to proceed in its efforts to force Trump to testify under oath and provide a DNA sample as evidence.