Trump might be protected from E. Jean Carroll lawsuit, court rules

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An appeals tribunal ruled Tuesday that the Justice Department whitethorn beryllium capable to shield erstwhile President Donald Trump from a 2019 defamation suit filed by writer E. Jean Carroll.

The tribunal ruled Tuesday that arsenic an worker of the national government, the president is protected from definite lawsuits. Trump's attorneys had been joined by attorneys with the Justice Department successful arguing that the president is protected from definite lawsuits by the Westfall Act, which shields national employees from suits related to their work.

The writer filed the suit successful 2019, portion Trump was inactive president and aft helium accused her of "totally lying" erstwhile she said helium sexually assaulted her successful a high-end New York City section store successful the 1990s. In October 2021, a national justice successful New York ruled that Trump was not shielded from Carroll's suit.

"We reverse the District Court's holding that the President of the United States is not an worker of the authorities nether the Westfall Act," the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit wrote Tuesday.

However, the tribunal near unresolved the question of whether Trump's comments astir Carroll were made successful his capableness arsenic president, oregon should beryllium considered arsenic abstracted from his enactment arsenic president.

The Second Circuit wrote that it deferred to the highest D.C. tribunal — the D.C. Court of Appeals — to determine the question: "Were the allegedly libelous nationalist statements made….within the scope of his employment arsenic President of the United States?"

An lawyer for Trump did not instantly instrumentality a petition for comment.

2019 Glamour Women Of The Year Summit E. Jean Carroll speaks onstage during the How to Write Your Own Life sheet astatine the 2019 Glamour Women Of The Year Summit astatine Alice Tully Hall connected November 10, 2019 successful New York City.  Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Glamour

Roberta Kaplan, an lawyer for Carroll, pointed to Judge Denny Chin's dissenting sentiment successful the case, successful which helium wrote that Trump was not acting wrong the scope of his duties erstwhile helium said things similar "she's not my type" astir Carroll.

"We are assured that the D.C. Court of Appeals, wherever this lawsuit is present headed connected certification, volition agree," Kaplan said successful a connection to CBS News. She added that Carroll plans to record a intersexual artillery suit successful New York nether the state's caller Adult Survivors Act, which goes into effect connected Nov. 24.

A Justice Department lawyer argued successful December that adjacent though "the erstwhile president made crude and violative comments successful effect to the precise superior accusations of intersexual assault" the instrumentality protecting employees similar the president from specified a suit should beryllium upheld.

At that aforesaid Second Circuit Court of Appeals hearing, Trump lawyer Alina Habba said Carroll should beryllium considered a "public figure," and truthful taxable to a precocious barroom for defamation claims.

Joshua Matz, an lawyer for Carroll, claimed that Trump had "private, idiosyncratic reasons" for allegedly defaming Carroll. Matz argued that "a White House occupation is not a committedness of an unlimited prerogative to brutalize victims of anterior wrongdoing."

In: Donald Trump

Graham Kates

Graham Kates is an investigative newsman covering transgression justice, privateness issues and accusation information for CBS News Digital. Contact Graham astatine KatesG@cbsnews.com oregon grahamkates@protonmail.com