A federal judge has denied former President Donald Trump’s request to stop a defamation lawsuit from columnist E Jean Carroll, who has accused Mr Trump of raping her in a department store in New York in the mid-1990s. Mr Trump has denied the claim.
District Judge Lewis Kaplan denied the request to stop the lawsuit from moving forward as they await a decision from an appeals court.
On Wednesday, Judge Kaplan put in a minute entry on the court docket that indicated that he was rejecting Mr Trump’s request for a “stay” of the judge’s ruling from last year when an attempt to replace Mr Trump as the defendant with the Justice Department was rejected.
Mr Trump has denied the rape claim from Ms Carroll, saying that she wasn’t his type and that she made up the allegation to increase her book sales. Ms Carroll then sued the former president for defamation.
Having Mr Trump replaced with the Department of Justice as the defendant would likely lead to the case being dismissed as the federal government cannot be sued for defamation.
Judge Kaplan disagreed with the attempt to substitute the defendant, prompting an appeal from Mr Trump and the Department of Justice. The department has argued under both President Trump and President Biden that Mr Trump was acting within the realm of his job when he responded to a reporter’s question about Ms Carroll’s allegation.
The decision by Judge Kaplan brings the case back to life after being on hold for almost a year while Mr Trump and the Department of Justice sought an appeal.
The ruling could allow lawyers for Ms Carroll to issue subpoenas for documents, records, as well as a DNA sample from Mr Trump in order to possibly prove her claims that a sexual assault occurred.
It remains unclear why Judge Kaplan denied the stay on Wednesday – no written opinion or order was published. Lawyers from Mr Trump made the request to delay all proceedings in December 2020 while they sought an appeal.
Judge Kaplan rejected the stay “without prejudice,” which means that Mr Trump’s lawyers could make another attempt. They can also request a stay from the court of appeals.
According to CNN, Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for Ms Carroll, said in a statement: “We’re looking forward to oral argument in our case before the Second Circuit ... In the meantime, we are reviewing Judge Kaplan’s order.”
Legal briefs have been filed in the court of appeals in the second circuit, with oral arguments scheduled to begin in the week of 29 November.
The Independent has reached out to the office of Mr Trump for comment.
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