A federal appeals court on Tuesday opened the door to allowing the Justice Department to shield former President Donald Trump for his conduct while president in a libel lawsuit brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll .
That question — whether Trump can be held personally liable in Carroll’s defamation case — will now be sent to the federal appeals court in Washington, DC.
The Justice Department, under the Trump and Biden administrations, sides with Trump in arguing that the US government should be replaced by Trump as defendant, a move that would have the effect of forcing the case to be dismissed of defamation.
“Under these circumstances, we cannot say what the district would do in this matter,” the appeals court wrote Tuesday. “Under the laws of the District, were allegedly defamatory public statements made, during his tenure, by the President of the United States, denying allegations of misconduct, with respect to events prior to his tenure, as part of his job as President of the United States?
The 2-1 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturns a trial court ruling that Trump could not be protected by the Justice Department in the defamation case.
Trump attorney Alina Habba welcomed the decision in a statement: “We are extremely pleased with the Second Circuit’s decision today to reverse and reverse the District Court’s decision in this matter. This decision will protect the ability of all future presidents to govern effectively without hindrance. We are confident that the DC Court of Appeals will find that our client acted within the scope of his employment when he properly repudiated Ms. Carroll’s allegations.
Carroll sued Trump in 2019, alleging he defamed her when he denied her allegations that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a New York City department store in the mid-1990s.
This story is broken and will be updated.