• The U.S. Justice Department previously filed to take over as Trump's defense as part of E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit
  • Carroll's team said there was "no merit" to the filing and filed to have the motion blocked in New York State Court
  • Carroll is one of multiple women who accused Trump of sexual assault between the late-1970s and mid-2000s

Author and journalist E. Jean Carroll asked a New York state judge to block the U.S. Department of Justice from involving itself in her defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump. This was in response to the Justice Department’s motion asking to defend Trump and move the lawsuit to the federal court, effectively ending the suit.

“There is no merit to the Justice Department's certification that Trump acted within the scope of his employment as President in defaming Carroll,” Monday’s court filing said. “There is not a single person in the United States -- not the President and not anyone else -- whose job description includes slandering women they sexually assaulted.”

“Trump views his commercial dealings with Russia and China as personal, not presidential. He views blocking people from a platform on which he has fired Cabinet secretaries as personal, not presidential. Only in a world gone mad could it somehow be presidential, not personal, for Trump to slander a woman who he sexually assaulted.”

Carroll is one of multiple women who has accused Trump of sexual assault or harassment since the late-1970s. She said the altercation took place in the mid-1990s while the two were inside the changing area at an upscale department store in New York City’s Manhattan borough. Carroll told at least two people about the altercation whose accounts match up with Carroll’s.

Trump has repeatedly denied the altercation ever happened, insisting they never met and Carroll wasn’t even his “type.” It was these comments that sparked Carroll’s defamation lawsuit, which was filed in November 2019.

Trump’s private attorneys first attempted to have the lawsuit dropped shortly after by filing to have it dismissed. His lawyers claimed it had to be dropped because his position as a sitting U.S. President granted him immunity. A New York state judge ruled against Trump, saying he was not immune from a defamation lawsuit and he would need to turn over a DNA sample to be tested against DNA found on the clothing Carroll said she was wearing the day of the assault.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr stepped in on Sept. 9, asking the Justice Department to take over duties as Trump’s legal defense. The department also filed a motion to move the lawsuit to federal court because when Trump made the comments about Carroll, it was in his capacity as U.S. President. Because of this, the defendant should be changed to read United States and the suit moved to federal court. This would effectively end the lawsuit because, under these circumstances, Trump would be immune from a defamation lawsuit as a federal employee.

That request and filing was met with intense backlash by Carroll and her legal team.

“It offends me as a lawyer, and offends me more as a citizen,” attorney Robbie Kaplan, who represents Carroll, said in a press release. “Trump’s efforts to wield the power of the U.S. government to evade responsibility for his private misconduct is without precedent, and shows even more starkly how far he is willing to go to prevent the truth from coming out.”

The Department of Justice said scam artists have tried to steal more than $175 million from the Paycheck Protection Program
The Department of Justice said scam artists have tried to steal more than $175 million from the Paycheck Protection Program AFP / Alastair Pike