What is E Jean Carroll case? A look at defamation suit against Trump who said rape accuser LIED

Biden's DOJ led by Merrick Garland wishes to replace Donald Trump as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit brought by E Jean Carroll


                            What is E Jean Carroll case? A look at defamation suit against Trump who said rape accuser LIED
E Jean Carroll speaks onstage during the How to Write Your Own Life panel at the 2019 Glamour Women Of The Year Summit at Alice Tully Hall on November 10, 2019 in New York City (Ilya S Savenok/Getty Images for Glamour)
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The Joe Biden administration is pushing forward with a contentious Justice Department defence of former President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit filed by E Jean Carroll, a writer who claims Trump raped her in a New York City department store in the 1990s.

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The brief, which was filed with a federal appeals court on Monday night, was the first time the Biden administration’s Justice Department, now led by Attorney General Merrick B Garland, weighed in on the issue. This exemplifies how administrations with widely divergent political views often take the same legal positions in court, even if it means appearing to excuse or absolve their predecessors' alleged wrongdoing.

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Journalist E Jean Carroll attends The ELLE Agenda In Conversation Panel And Cocktail Party hosted by Robbie Myers At NeueHouse on November 17, 2015 in New York City (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for ELLE)

The Justice Department argued that it should be allowed to replace the former President as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit brought by Carroll, a longtime magazine columnist, who accused him of rape, continuing an argument it began under the previous administration even though the White House has changed hands. "She's not my type", Trump had said of Carroll's allegations in a 2019 interview with The Hill.

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What happened to E Jean Carroll?

Trump had allegedly thrown Carroll up against the wall of a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman, an upscale department store in Manhattan, in late 1995 or early 1996, the columnist wrote in a book excerpt published in New York magazine. Then, she alleged that Trump pulled down her tights, opened his pants and forced himself on her, the New York Times reported.

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Carroll said there were no attendants in the dressing room at the time of the alleged assault happened and she did not file a report with the New York Police Department. "I wanted to forget it," she said. "I thought A, my fault. B, I was stupid. C, I didn't think of it... as rape. I thought of it as a violent incident. I thought of it as a fight."

US Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers a statement at the Department of Justice on April 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)

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"The whole episode lasts no more than three minutes. I do not believe he ejaculates. I don’t remember if any person or attendant is now in the lingerie department. I don’t remember if I run for the elevator or if I take the slow ride down on the escalator. As soon as I land on the main floor, I run through the store and out the door — I don’t recall which door — and find myself outside on Fifth Avenue," she added.

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'Department, not Trump personally, should be defendant'

Justice Department lawyers wrote in a brief to the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals: "Then-President Trump's response to Ms. Carroll's serious allegations of sexual assault included statements that questioned her credibility in terms that were crude and disrespectful. But this case does not concern whether Mr Trump's response was appropriate. Nor does it turn on the truthfulness of Ms Carroll's allegations."

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Rather, because the lawyers believe Trump was a government employee who acted "within the scope of employment," the department, not Trump personally, should be named as a defendant in the case. The Justice Department had not consulted the White House before the brief was issued, according to the White House.

U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he departs on the South Lawn of the White House, on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

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"Speaking to the public and the press on matters of public concern is undoubtedly part of an elected official's job," the DOJ wrote. "Courts have thus consistently and repeatedly held that allegedly defamatory statements made in that context are within the scope of elected officials' employment -- including when the statements were prompted by press inquiries about the official's private life."

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People took to Twitter to show their disappointment with teh Attorney General and comment on the case. "Biden has the power to replace Garland. And, he can place someone as interim AG without confirmation. Keep that in mind. He won’t do it unless he has no choice. And it’s quite possible that we will have to take to the streets in such numbers that he has no choice," said a Twitter user. "Once again, Garland serves Trump and Barr. We warned you about this many times on @gaslitnation. The DOJ is a corrupt institution and Garland is a corrupt institutionalist," said another.

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"Short list on Garland: * not pursuing Trump, Barr for gassing peaceful protestors * defended against releasing DOJ docs on Barr/Mueller memo * not stopping recounts that violate federal laws * continuing monitoring of NYT reporters * defending Trump against sexual assault WTH!?," a third added.


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