In a scathing decision, a judge dismisses Trump's attempt to countersue rape accuser E. Jean Carroll.
- Former President Donald Trump's attempt to countersue and collect financial damages against author E. Jean Carroll was denied.
- Carroll claims Trump defamed her by claiming she was lying and motivated by money when he claimed she was raped in a New York City department store years ago.
- The Justice Department is attempting to have the United States of America replaced as a defendant in the case, thereby ending the case.
Former President Donald Trump's attempt to countersue and seek financial damages from writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of rapping her in a New York City department store years ago, was denied on Friday.
Judge Lewis Kaplan of Manhattan federal court rejected Trump's request, saying there is reasonable cause to suspect it is a delaying ploy by the former president to further block Carroll's defamation action against him.
Trump's proposal smacks of "bad faith," according to Kaplan, who waited 14 months to seek authorization to respond to Carroll's allegations with a countersuit alleging harassment and saying that she is making "baseless" claims.
Carroll's ability to have her allegations heard in court would be jeopardised if the matter was delayed any longer, according to the judge.
Even if Trump were allowed to countersue, he claimed that proving his claims in court would be "futile."
"The record persuades this Court that the defendant's litigation methods, whatever their intended, have caused the case to be delayed to an amount that could have been avoided," Kaplan concluded.
The decision comes as the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit considers an appeal by Trump and the United States Justice Department of an earlier ruling by Kaplan, who prevented the United States government from replacing Trump as a defendant in Carroll's complaint.
If the Justice Department succeeds in its argument, which is predicated on the fact that Trump was president and not a private citizen at the time he made the allegedly defamatory statements about Carroll, Carroll's case will be effectively closed.
That's because the US government might then utilise sovereign immunity to shield itself from legal action.
Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump in November 2019 after he said she was lying and pursuing a political agenda when she accused him of sexual assault. After an accidental encounter in the store in the mid-1990s, she claimed Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in a New York magazine article published in June of that year.
"As the Court observed in its ruling today: a 'characterization of [Donald Trump's] previous and threatened future conduct as dilatory, in bad faith, or unreasonably detrimental would be a bootless exercise," Carroll's lawyer Roberta Kaplan said in an emailed statement about Friday's decision. They are all three, to varied degrees.'"
′′Judge Kaplan went on to say that this matter "might have been tried and determined — one way or the other — many years ago." "My client E. Jean Carroll and I couldn't be more in agreement," said Kaplan, who is unrelated to the judge.
"While we are unhappy with the Court's judgement today," Trump's lawyer Alina Habba wrote in an email, "we enthusiastically look forward to fighting this action and showing at trial that the plaintiff's claims have absolutely no basis in law or fact."
Carroll's complaint was first filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, which is a trial-level court in New York's state judicial system.
While Trump was still in office, the Justice Department waited ten months before requesting that the lawsuit be shifted to U.S. District Court in Manhattan, a federal court, and that the government be substituted for Trump as a defendant.
The move came just a month after a state judge dismissed Trump's assertion that he is immune from private lawsuits, paving the way for him to be forced to produce a DNA sample that could be compared to a stain on Carroll's clothing, which she had saved from that day, and to answer questions under oath.
The Justice Department was immediately precluded from having Trump removed as a defendant by Judge Kaplan.
In October 2020, Kaplan wrote, "The President of the United States is not an employee of the Government within the meaning of the relevant legislation."
"Even if he had been such an employee," Kaplan said at the time, "President Trump's allegedly defamatory statements disparaging Ms. Carroll would not have been within the scope of his employment."
To the surprise of some legal experts, the Biden administration continued to challenge Kaplan's decision, which was first submitted by the Justice Department during the Trump administration.