Presidential Defamation Lawsuit

The Department of Justice said something unexpected about a lawsuit filed against Donald Trump.  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

In 2019, writer E. Jean Carrol accused former President Donald Trump of sexual assault over an incident that occurred in the mid-90s.  The then-President responded, “Number one, she’s not my type.  Number two, it never happened.”  In response, she filed a lawsuit against him for defamation.

At the time, the Justice Department argued that then-President Trump was acting within the scope of his duties and should be immune from the suit.  Now that the case is on appeal, it was assumed that the Justice Department would change course under the new administration, but it didn’t.  It called his response “crude and disrespectful,” but on the legal issue, it said speaking “on matters of public concern is undoubtedly part of an elected official’s job” and therefore in the scope of his duties.  If the court agrees with the Justice Department, the defamation case will effectively be over because the federal government can’t be sued for defamation.  We will see what the court has to say about that.

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