Political News

Federal judge agrees to hear arguments if DOJ can represent Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation suit

Posted October 9, 2020 5:35 p.m. EDT

— A New York federal judge said he will hear oral arguments later this month to consider if the Justice Department can represent President Donald Trump in a defamation case brought by E. Jean Carroll, a former magazine columnist who has accused the President of rape.

Judge Lewis Kaplan said oral arguments in the case will be held in person on October 21.

The Justice Department sought to intervene in the case and replace Trump as the defendant in the defamation lawsuit last month. The Justice Department made the move saying it was representing the President as he was acting in his official capacity when he disparaged Carroll and denied sexually assaulting her in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman in the mid 1990s. Trump has denied the allegation.

The request and possible change of lawyers could further delay the lawsuit, or even kill it entirely. Should the Justice Department be allowed to take over, it could mean the end of Carroll's lawsuit as the federal government can't be sued for defamation, noted CNN legal analyst and University of Texas law school professor Steve Vladeck.

On Monday, Carroll's lawyers filed a motion asking the judge for the hearing. They argued the judge should block the Justice Department from intervening in the case saying to allow it would "distort the law."

"There is not a single person in the United States -- not the President and not anyone else -- whose job description includes slandering women they sexually assaulted," the filing said.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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