While the decision may provide some relief to Trump, the case’s future may still be decided by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Attorneys for E. Jean Carroll have said they are no longer seeking to depose Donald J. Trump, saying any attempt to make Trump take the stand would only further delay the defamation case.
According to CNN, attorney Roberta Kaplan, who is representing Carroll in the lawsuit, told reporters that her legal team will no longer pursue a deposition.
Kaplan said the decision was made after considering Trump’s history of protracted litigation, and signaled that she wishes to move the case to trial as quickly as possible.
However, Kaplan said she intends to pursue a court order to obtain samples of Trump’s DNA.
As LegalReader.com has reported before, Carroll has repeatedly maintained that Trump sexually assaulted in a New York City department store dressing room some time in the mid-1990s.
Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit after Trump publicly denied her allegations, saying that she was not his “type” and that she was only targeting time to boost sales of her book.
While Trump’s attorneys appeared surprised when they heard the news that Carroll may no longer seek to depose Trump, they have tried other legal strategies to try and force Carroll into dropping her claim.
One proposed strategy, says CNBC, was counter-suing Carroll under New York’s “anti-SLAPP” laws, which broadly protect free speech.
CNBC notes that anti-SLAPP laws were originally created to protect journalists and other people from wealthy companies and individuals who might file frivolous lawsuits to silence their critics.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that Trump cannot likely retaliate against Carroll through a countersuit. Speaking to Trump attorney Alina Habba, Kaplan said that other New York courts have set precedent suggesting that state-level anti-SLAPP laws are not applicable in federal court.
“I question whether you have the right to do what you are seeking to do, because it seems to me it’s entirely inconsistent with the notion of futility,” Kaplan told Habba. “It may not be the way I resolve this matter.”
Despite the case’s altered trajectory—and limited opportunities for Trump to retaliate—it remains uncertain whether Carroll’s case will ever progress to trial, as both sides are waiting on a ruling from 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
The circuit court, adds CNBC, shall determine if Carroll’s lawsuit should be dismissed on grounds that Trump—as a sitting president of the United States—should be immune from civil liability.
The Justice Department has thus far adopted the same stance taken by the Trump administration, arguing that Trump should be stricken as a defendant and replaced by the United States government.
If the circuit court consents to replacing Trump as a defendant, Carroll’s lawsuit would most likely falter.
Statement from Roberta Kaplan, Counsel to E. Jean Carroll, following oral arguments today:
“Today the court heard arguments on Donald J. Trump’s latest, meritless effort to delay E. Jean Carroll’s quest to show the world the truth. We are grateful to Judge Kaplan for his respectful consideration of the issues and look forward to proving our case at trial.”