FILE PHOTO: E. Jean Carroll is seen in an undated photo released on June 25, 2019. Courtesy E. Jean Carroll/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY./File Photo


The U.S. Justice Department hopes to defend President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says the president raped her in the 1990s, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

The Justice Department traditionally acts as an independent federal law enforcement agency, but it argued in the documents that under the Federal Tort Claims Act, its lawyers can usurp Trump’s private legal team because he was “acting within the scope of his office” while denying accusations made by E. Jean Carroll. The move could mean taxpayers will be responsible for any payments Carroll wins because the U.S., and not Trump, would be the defendant.

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, called  the move “shocking.” “It offends me as a lawyer and offends me even more as a citizen,” she said in a statement. But Attorney General William Barr noted  that elected officials who answer questions about their personal lives in the course of their federal employment can be defended by government attorneys. “This was a normal application of the law. The law is clear. It is done frequently,” Barr said during a press conference in Chicago. 


Barr defends Justice Department intervention in Carroll defamation case against Trump One America News Network9/9/2020
U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday defended his department’s decision to intervene. 

For Trump, Defaming an Alleged Rape Victim Is Part of His Job – The Nation – 9/9/2020
To break it down still further: Trump is saying that demeaning and lying about a woman who has accused him of rape is part of his job as president, and therefore he cannot be sued over his statements. 

DOJ cites federal statute after criticism for asking to defend Trump in rape accuser’s defamation suit – Fox News – 9/9/2020
Kerri Kupec, the spokeswoman from the Department of Justice, cited a federal statute Tuesday night in response to criticism the department faced after it sought to intervene in a defamation suit against President Trump.

Barr Slammed for Acting as ‘Personal Henchman’ of Trump as DOJ Moves to Take Over His Defense in Suit Filed by Rape AccuserThe Moderate Voice – 9/9/2020
Democratic lawmakers and legal experts accused Attorney General William Barr of unethically acting as President Donald Trump’s “personal henchman” after the Justice Department on Tuesday moved to take over the president’s defense team in a defamation case.


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