Justice Department says E. Jean Carroll can't sue Donald Trump for defamation because he was acting in an 'official capacity' when he denied her rape claim

 President Donald Trump was addressing matters relating to his fitness for office when he claimed that a woman who said he raped her in a department store was lying and was politically motivated, Justice Department lawyers said Monday.

The lawyers argued in papers in Manhattan federal court that the president should be replaced as the defendant in E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit because he was acting in an official capacity when he made his statements. 

They said Trump was entitled to refute Carroll's claims because she was trying to call 'into question the president's fitness for office and a response was necessary for the president to effectively govern'.

The lawyers had made similar arguments before and were replying to written arguments submitted to a judge by lawyers for Carroll earlier this month. 

Carroll alleges that Trump defamed her in 2019 when she came forward to accuse him of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in New York City in 1996.

The DOJ has sought to substitute the US as the defendant in the suit, claiming that Trump is protected by his office. The move would put taxpayers on the hook for any potential payout in a lawsuit seeking damages and a retraction of the statements.

President Donald Trump was speaking in an official capacity when he denied a rape allegation by E. Jean Carroll, Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing on Monday
Carroll (pictured) claims Trump defamed her in 2019 when she came forward to accuse him of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in New York City in 1996

President Donald Trump (left) was speaking in an official capacity when he denied a rape allegation by E. Jean Carroll (right), Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing Monday

On Monday, DOJ lawyers wrote that every court that has considered the issue has found that the US can substitute itself as the defendant when a defamation lawsuit against a federal elected official results from a statement made on a matter of concern or interest to the official's constituents.

'This is even clearer with respect to the defendant here - the President of the United States - and under the circumstances here, where the President addressed matters relating to his fitness for office as part of an official White House response to press inquiries,' they wrote.

Carroll's attorneys, Roberta Kaplan and Joshua Matz, argued the opposite in a filing on October 5, saying Trump can't insult their client and then cite his job as reason to remove himself as a defendant.

'Only in a world gone mad could it somehow be presidential, not personal, for Trump to slander a woman who he sexually assaulted,' they said.


Kaplan and Matz asked a judge to refuse the DOJ's substitution request or force it to prove that defaming Carroll three times in June 2019 with a 'slew of lies' was part of his job. 

They wrote that the defamatory attacks included assertions that Carroll had falsely accused other men of rape, that she lied about him to advance a secret political conspiracy and sell books and that he had never met her even though they'd been photographed together. 

The lawyers noted that Trump also said: 'She's not my type.'

Trump claimed that he had never met Carroll, but the advice columnist and author submitted photographic evidence that they had in the lawsuit. The photo above shows Trump and first wife Ivana (left and right) with Carroll and her then-husband John Johnson (center)

Trump claimed that he had never met Carroll, but the advice columnist and author submitted photographic evidence that they had in the lawsuit. The photo above shows Trump and first wife Ivana (left and right) with Carroll and her then-husband John Johnson (center)

Kaplan and Matz's argument centered around the assertion that the Federal Torts Claims Act, a statute that assumes liability for the wrongful acts of government employees and was cited by the DOJ in its request, does not apply to the president.

'The bottom line is that the President enjoys absolute immunity from damages claims based on conduct within the outer perimeter of his official responsibilities, but is not shielded by the FTCA for tortious acts committed within the scope of his employment,' the October 5 filing stated. 

Furthermore, they argued that Trump was not acting within the scope of his employment when he defamed Carroll. 

'Trump acted for decidedly personal reasons unrelated to furthering any interests of the United States,' the lawyers wrote. 

'Moreover, it is inconceivable that Trump's employers—a.k.a., the American people—expect his job to include viciously defaming a woman he sexually assaulted. 

'In asserting otherwise, the Justice Department opines that elected officials always act within the scope of their office when speaking with the press, even about personal matters.'

The filing also asserts that the DOJ's attempt to substitute the US as defendant and move the case from state to federal court was part of a pattern of maneuvers designed to delay progression of the case, including Carroll's effort to get a DNA sample from Trump to see if it matches male genetic material on a dress she says she wore the day of the alleged attack.  

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Wednesday before US District Judge Lewis A Kaplan. 

A representative for Carroll's lawyers did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com's request for comment about the DOJ's latest filing. 

Carroll's lawyers said Trump's legal team is attempting to delay progression of the case, including Carroll's effort to get a DNA sample from Trump to see if it matches male genetic material on a dress she says she wore the day of the alleged attack (pictured)

Carroll's lawyers said Trump's legal team is attempting to delay progression of the case, including Carroll's effort to get a DNA sample from Trump to see if it matches male genetic material on a dress she says she wore the day of the alleged attack (pictured)

Carroll, who was a longtime Elle magazine advice columnist until being fired last December amid her legal battle with Trump, first aired her rape allegation in her book What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal in July 2019.  

She wrote in the memoir, which had an excerpt featured in New York Magazine, that it happened after they ran into each other at the store and Trump recognized her from her column.

After asking her to help him pick out a gift for a woman, Carroll said he took her to the lingerie department and asked her to try on an item he chose. 

Then, Carroll said Trump shoved her against a wall, unzipped his pants and forcibly penetrated her in an attack she claims lasted three minutes.

Carroll detailed her allegations against Trump in New York magazine, appearing on the cover (pictured) in the very same coat dress that she claims she was wearing on that day in the Fall of 1995 or Spring of 1996 when Trump allegedly assaulted her

Carroll detailed her allegations against Trump in New York magazine, appearing on the cover (pictured) in the very same coat dress that she claims she was wearing on that day in the Fall of 1995 or Spring of 1996 when Trump allegedly assaulted her 

Trump said Carroll was 'totally lying' to sell a memoir and that he'd never met her, though a 1987 photo showed them and their then-spouses at a social event. He said it just captured a moment when he was standing in a line. 

'She is trying to sell a new book - that should indicate her motivation,' he said in one of various statements on the matter, adding that the book 'should be sold in the fiction section'.

Carroll is trying to get a DNA sample from Trump to see whether it matches as-yet-unidentified male genetic material found on a dress that she says she was wearing during the alleged attack and didn't don again until a photo shoot last year.

 'The dress has been tested. We have the results. My attorney @kaplanrobbie has served notice to @realDonaldTrump's attorney to submit a sample of Trump's DNA,' Carroll tweeted in January.

A lab report taken on the black wool coat-styled dress found DNA on the sleeves mixed with at least four people, including one man.

Carroll's suit seeks damages and a retraction of Trump's statements, saying they hurt her career and reputation.

Trump's legal team has repeatedly tried - and failed - to have the suit dismissed, arguing that Carroll's rape allegation is false and that the president did not defame her.

Justice Department says E. Jean Carroll can't sue Donald Trump for defamation because he was acting in an 'official capacity' when he denied her rape claim Justice Department says E. Jean Carroll can't sue Donald Trump for defamation because he was acting in an 'official capacity' when he denied her rape claim Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 10:05 Rating: 5

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