Justice Department Denies Trump Request For Presidential Immunity From E. Jean Carroll Defamation Lawsuit
The Department of Justice said it no longer believes that Donald Trump should be protected under immunity for his response to E. Jean Carroll’s accusation of sexual assault, allowing her civil lawsuit to proceed in January.
In 2019, Carroll sued the former president for defamation after he denied allegations that he raped Carroll in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s. Trump was found guilty of sexual abuse and defamation but the jury did not find that he raped her. Carroll was awarded $5 million in damages.
While he was sitting as president, Trump defended himself by saying that Carroll wasn’t his “type,” and therefore, he did not assault her. He hoped to claim presidential immunity on the grounds that he was acting within the scope of his employment or serving the U.S. government when he made this statement and therefore the defamation charges against him should be dropped.
In a letter to attorneys for Trump and Carroll, prosecutors from the Department of Justice wrote that it “has determined that it lacks adequate evidence” to conclude that Trump was acting within the scope of his employment “when he denied sexually assaulting Ms. Carroll and made other statements regarding Ms. Carroll that she has challenged in this action.”
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In response to Trump’s claims that any charges against him while serving as president should be dropped, the Justice Department said that he committed the crime well before he took office and thus must be held accountable.
“A jury has now found that Mr. Trump sexually assaulted Ms. Carroll long before he became president. That history supports an interference that Mr. Trump was motivated by a ‘personal grievance’ stemming from events that occurred many years prior to Mr. Trump’s presidency,” the letter explained.
A trial for the case has been scheduled for January, just as Trump’s campaign for the 2024 presidential election is expected to ramp up.
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