A federal court has denied President Donald Trump’s request for the United States government to replace him as the defendant of a defamation lawsuit related to a decades-old rape allegation that allegedly occurred in the 1990s.
Judge Lewis A Kaplan of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled on Tuesday that Trump was not an employee of the Government within the meaning of the relevant statues.
According to the judge, even if Trump were such an employee, his alleged defamatory statements concerning Jean Carroll would have not been within the scope of his employment.
The Justice Department attempted to step into the defamation lawsuit and defend the president by arguing that what Trump said against Jean Carroll while in office was within the scope of the presidency.
This move, if sided on by the judge, would have likely ended the proceedings, since the US government cannot be sued for defamation.
But now, for the moment, the lawsuit can move forward against Trump, as he was deemed a private citizen in the case.
Carroll has accused the president of raping her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s.
She went public with the accusation last year, which prompted Trump to deny the attack and call her a politically motivated liar.
His statements against the writer then prompted her to file a defamation lawsuit against the president.
Last month, the Justice Department intervened in the case, which was filed in the state court of New York, on behalf of Trump.
The case was moved to federal court while the agency cited a law that would protect federal employees from litigation that related to their performance on the job.
But the judge rejected the notion that the president’s comments about the sexual assault allegations related to his scope of office.