By Damilare Taiwo D.

Federal judge repels Justice Department’s offer to aid Trump in defamation case

Posted on: November 12, 2020

Elizabeth Jean Carroll accused Donald Trump of raping her more than twenty years ago in the dressing room of a New York City department store – Bergdorf Goodman to be precise in the 1990s. Jean Carroll is an American journalist and Former Advice Columnist for ELLE Magazine.

Trump’s response

President Donald Trump denies the allegation by saying

“She is trying to sell a new book — that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section,”

After the publication of the book excerpt by Ms Carroll in 2019, President Trump told the press that Ms Carroll had made up the rape story and also stated that he never met her.

I’ve never met this person in my life.

although there’s a photo of them together.

Source: Twitter

Ms E. Jean Carroll claims that Mr Trump statements that she had lied about the accusations against him were false and him saying that the incident never took place injured her reputation and that she’s entitled to damages from him.

So, Ms. Carroll sued him in a New York State court for defamation.

Ms Carroll sued President Trump in his personal capacity, not the U.S government

Lewis A. Kaplan is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In his 61-page opinion document permitted the lawsuit brought by Ms Carroll stating that “Ms Carroll sued the president in his individual (or personal) capacity, as distinguished from suing him as the president (i.e., in his official capacity). In other words, she claims that the president personally harmed her and that he, not the U.S. government, should pay any damages to which she may be entitled”. Kaplan permitted the lawsuit brought by Ms Carroll to continue in federal court with DOJ’s attorneys representing Trump for the time being.

But the Department of Justice (DOJ) whose mission is “To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law…” makes a motion to substitute the United States for President Trump as the defendant with the argument that the lawsuit is actually not against Mr Trump as the United States President but against the United States Government as a nation.

The DOJ further argues that Mr Trump is an employee of the United States and also that his statements – denying Ms Carroll allegations, were made as part of his official job responsibilities.

The government compares the case to a lawsuit filed against a Postal Service driver for causing a car accident while delivering the mail, that the lawsuit is actually not against the driver in a sense but against the company. Hence, the lawsuit brought forward by Ms Carroll is a lawsuit against the United States Government.

But the government cannot be sued due to sovereign immunity

Sovereign immunity is also known as crown immunity. It is a legal principle that forbids the government or its political subdivisions, departments, and agencies from being sued without its permission. In other words, the government and or its employees cannot be sued for money damages except it agrees to it.

Now, if the government will ever agree to any lawsuit brought against it, there is a legislative act in place that must be followed known as The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) is an extremely complicated law that allows specific types of lawsuits against a federal government entity and or its employees who have acted within the scope of employment while causing damage to or loss of property, or personal injury or death, but there are exceptions.

Any lawsuit arising out of libel, slander, malicious prosecution, assault, false imprisonment, false arrest, abuse of process, misrepresentation, deceit, or interference with contract rights… these and more are exceptions to the FTCA act, meaning the government cannot agree to such lawsuit because Trump’s actions that led to the lawsuit from Carroll – denying the allegations – is not covered by that law.

Kaplan rejected the government motion to step into Trump’s shoes as the defendant arguing that Trump’s denial of Carroll’s allegations – which actually led to her suing him, was not related to Trump’s job as president and did not amount to official business hence the FTCA law the Department of Justice is exerting to jump into the case as the defendant is not valid.

Carroll’s case will be rendered completely invalid

If the court agrees to let DOJ step into Trump’s shoes as the defendant, it will become an issue of sovereign immunity i.e. the case will be rendered invalid and incapacitated permanently. In other words, no more case; no damage costs.

Ms Carroll during one phone interview said she is doing this for

“every woman who has come forward and was dragged through the mud ridiculed and called a liar.”

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Damilare Taiwo D.

An accomplished web developer and digital marketer; I enjoy using my skills to contribute to small businesses growth.
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