Feds Do a 180 on Trump Lawsuit

Former president is not entitled to immunity in E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit: DOJ
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
Updated Jul 12, 2023 2:44 AM CDT
Feds Reverse Position on Trump Lawsuit
FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event, Saturday, July 8, 2023, in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

In a move that will allow E. Jean Carroll's original defamation lawsuit against former President Trump to proceed, the Justice Department on Tuesday said Trump is actually not entitled to immunity in that lawsuit. Carroll's suit, filed in 2019, centers around statements Trump made while president (he said that the rape Carroll accuses him of "never happened" and that she is "not my type"), and the Department of Justice under Trump found that he was covered by presidential immunity, the Guardian reports. After Joe Biden became president, the department originally maintained the same position until reversing it in the latest court filing, Politico reports. A second lawsuit filed by Carroll, centering around comments Trump made after leaving the presidency, went to trial earlier this year and Trump was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation.

"Although the statements themselves were made in a work context, the allegations that prompted the statements related to a purely personal incident: an alleged sexual assault that occurred decades prior to Mr. Trump's Presidency," the DOJ says in a letter filed in court that announced the department had found Trump was not "sufficiently actuated by a purpose to serve the United States Government" so as to be covered by presidential immunity. A trial could start in January, and Trump will need to use his own legal team rather than one provided by the government. A spokesperson for Trump says the DOJ reversal shows that Biden is "politically weaponizing the justice system" and that the department is "has broken with long-standing tradition in a desperate attempt to perpetuate this hoax." (More Donald Trump stories.)

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