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Judge rejects Trump offer to stay E. Jean Carroll rape defamation case

E. Jean Carroll visits “Tell Me Everything” with John Fugelsang at SiriusXM Studios on July 11, 2019 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a request by a lawyer for former President Donald Trump to continue to suspend a trial that accuses him of defaming writer E. Jean Carroll after claiming he raped her decades ago in New York.

The ruling appears to allow the resumption of proceedings and filings in the Manhattan Federal District Court case, even as Trump and the US Department of Justice continue to appeal an earlier ruling in the case to court superior.

Those proceedings, which had effectively been suspended since the end of last year, could include an interrogation of Trump by Carroll’s lawyers before a possible trial, as well as the exchange of evidence by the parties.

Judge Lewis Kaplan’s order on Wednesday came nine months after Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz first asked him to “immediately stay all proceedings in the case,” while Trump and the DOJ have appeals Kaplan’s advance ruling.

Kaplan, in that October decision, rejected a DOJ request to remove Trump as a defendant in the case and substitute the U.S. government as the defendant.

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The DOJ argued he should be the sole defendant, since Trump was acting as a government employee when he claimed Carroll was lying and was motivated by money when she alleged in a July 2019 article. that he sexually assaulted her in a locker room at the Bergdorf Goodman Department Store in 1995 or 1996.

The DOJ’s request, if successful, would effectively kill Carroll’s trial because the government would not waive its sovereign immunity protection from prosecution.

Kaplan flatly rejected the DOJ’s argument in its October decision.

“The President of the United States is not a government employee within the meaning of the relevant laws,” Kaplan wrote in his ruling at the time.

“Even if he was such an employee, President Trump’s allegedly defamatory statements regarding Ms. Carroll would not have been in the course of his employment,” the judge wrote.

However, since Kaplan’s decision in October, there had been no substantive hearings, depositions or filings in the case, except for Trump’s attorney’s offer to formally suspend the case. procedure and Carroll’s opposition to this request.

Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, when asked about the judge’s decision on Wednesday to deny a stay of the case, said in an email: “We are reviewing Judge Kaplan’s order.”

Trump’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Kaplan’s order, which itself may be subject to appeal.

The appeal of Kaplan’s original decision to dismiss the DOJ’s request to replace Trump as a defendant continues in the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan.

Appeal pleadings are scheduled for November 29.

“We look forward to the oral argument,” Kaplan told CNBC.

Carroll wrote Elle magazine’s “Ask E. Jean” advice column for more than a quarter of a century before the magazine fired her in early 2020.

Her past writings for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” earned her an Emmy nomination, and she is the author of books on gonzo reporter Hunter S. Thompson, as well as a book that included her statement on Trump, “What Do We Need Men For: A Modest Proposal.”

In addition to Carroll, several other women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. He denied all of these allegations.

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