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Lawsuits & Litigation

Federal Judge Tosses Trump Request to Stay Defamation Lawsuit

— September 16, 2021

Oral arguments are expected by the end of November.

The federal judge overseeing E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump has denied Trump’s motion to stay an earlier judgment.

Carroll, who has accused Trump of sexual assault, sued the man after he publicly denounced Carroll as an attention-seeker and liar.

While President Trump repeatedly tried to get the case dismissed, Carroll has managed to keep it in the courts.

According to CNN, before leaving office, President Trump asked the court to strike him as a defendant, substituting the federal Justice Department in his place. If approved, the switch would have killed the complaint.

But on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan again rebuffed Trump’s request.

Kaplan’s decision, characterized by CNN as “sudden,” effectively revives the lawsuit, which had not progressed in over a year.

The new ruling, says CNN, could permit Carroll’s attorneys to subpoena Trump for documents, records, and even a DNA sample.

Carroll, as has reported before, accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s. After Carroll’s allegations surfaced, Trump stated and maintained his innocence, going so far as to say that Carroll wasn’t “his type.”

Scales of Justice. Image via Flickr/user:mikecogh. (CCA-BY-2.0).

The former president has further suggested that Carroll filed a lawsuit simply to bolster sales of her book.

Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said she and her client are excited to resume proceedings.

“We’re looking forward to oral argument in our case before the Second Circuit,” Kaplan said. “In the meantime, we are reviewing Judge Kaplan’s order.”

Kaplan had earlier speculated that Trump’s legal appeal would likely fail, since the former president “cannot credibly claim to suffer irreparable harm when he has already initiated the document discovery process and engaged in procedural discovery.”

However, Kaplan’s order was issued “without prejudice,” meaning that Trump’s legal team can renew their request for a stay, if they so choose.

Alternatively, Trump attorneys could ask a federal appeals court for a stay.

Reuters notes that the Biden administration continued Trump’s defense, even after the latter left office. The Justice Department’s position on the matter is essentially unchanged, with government lawyers claiming that Trump denounced Carroll in his official capacity as president—shielding him from any defamation claim.

Carroll, adds Reuters, is one of several women who claim Trump sexually assaulted them before taking office in 2017.

Oral arguments are expected to be heard by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals during the week of November 29th.


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