A federal appeals court panel is debating whether former President Donald Trump went beyond his presidential duties in his aggressive responses to New York writer E. Jean Carroll‘s claims that he raped her decades ago. Trump told reporters he couldn’t have raped Carroll because “she wasn’t my type.”

Carroll sued Trump in 2019 for alleging that he defamed her through several denials of her allegations. After letting the case simmer for almost a year, the Justice Department stepped in a bid to effectively shut down the litigation by taking over Trump’s defense and asserting that his answers to press questions about Carroll’s suit were part of his presidential duties. The suit is a political headache for the Biden administration and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Justice Department attorney Mark Freeman, who stressed that he was representing the U.S. in the case and not Trump individually, began his remarks to the three-judge panel by disavowing Trump’s remarks.

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