In an effort to replace Trump as the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the former columnist, E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of raping her in a dressing room at a luxury Manhattan department store in the 1990s, the Justice Department is expected to tell a federal judge that Trump’s response to Carroll’s claims was an effort to preserve his ability to perform the duties of the presidency.
If the Justice Department is allowed to intervene, it would likely torpedo Carroll’s lawsuit, since the federal government can’t be sued for defamation.
In a court filing earlier this week, lawyers for the department wrote with reference to Carroll’s rape claim, which appeared in a 2019 book she wrote, that “even false allegations that the President committed such a crime could obviously impact the President’s ability to effectively govern.”
In the wake of Carroll’s accusations, Trump denied raping her, telling reporters, “She’s not my type.” He also alleged Carroll lied about the rape to boost her book sales.
Carroll filed her case in New York state court, and after Trump challenged it, a trial court judge ruled in August that the lawsuit could proceed, paving the way for Carroll’s attorneys to move forward in their efforts to obtain a DNA sample from Trump and take his deposition under oath.