Donald Trump again attacked E. Jean Carroll in Truth Social posts Thursday, doubling down on undermining his defense against the journalist’s defamation lawsuit against him after he viciously denied her rape allegation.
Trump posted two video clips mocking Carroll, who has alleged that Trump raped her in a dressing room in New York’s Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. His angry denials following the accusations damaged her reputation, her defamation suit argues.
The video clips — including one from Newsmax calling her “crazy” — follow Trump’s screed against Carroll last week, just days before he was forced to sit for a deposition in the defamation case this week.
He called the “‘Ms. Bergdorf Goodman’ case … a complete con job,” and repeated that Carroll was not his “type.”
“It is a Hoax and a lie,” Trump wrote. “And, while I am not supposed to say it, I will.”
Legal experts are warning that the attacks are significantly undermining Trump’s defense against Carroll’s lawsuit.
Trump’s attorneys have argued that he was protected from the suit filed in 2019 because they were part of Trump’s official duties as president.
Carroll’s lawyers have responded that verbally attacking an alleged rape victim should not be considered part of his presidential tasks. But in any case, Trump has been shredding his own defense by repeating his allegedly defamatory attacks as a private citizen who is no longer protected by the presidency.
“Absolutely brilliant,” mocked conservative attorney George Conway on Twitter, addressing Trump last week. “You issue a BRAND NEW statement REPEATING all the earlier defamatory statements, but since you’re no longer POTUS, you NO LONGER HAVE [the] DEFENSE you’ve been pushing for years.”
Harvard University law professor and constitutional expert Lawrence Tribe said Wednesday that “Trump just blasted his own defense apart in the defamation suit brought by E. Jean Carroll.”
Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade took the same position, and told Vice this week that could fortify her case against Trump wit a lawsuit amendment including his latest attacks.
“Because Trump is no longer president, this statement was most certainly not made in the scope of his federal employment,” McQuade said.
Manhattan Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan in 2020 rejected the argument that Trump was performing official duties when he made his initial statements about Carroll. The “allegations have no relationship to the official business of the United States,” he wrote. He said earlier this month that Trump “should not be permitted to run the clock out” in the case.
A Washington D.C. court is now deciding whether Trump was an official federal employee when he denied Carroll’s accusation in 2019. If so, the U.S. could be listed as the defendant, and the government can’t be sued for defamation. But, Trump’s past status as president would not pertain to his latest comments as a private citizen.
Trump’s attorney Alina Habba, apparently missing the point about Trump repeating his verbal attacks against Carroll after he left office, told The New York Times: “We are confident that the D.C. Court of Appeals will find that our client was acting within the scope of his employment when properly repudiating Ms. Carroll’s allegations,”
Carroll’s lawyers have said that she plans to file another case against Trump in November under a new state law allowing victims of sexual assault a one-time opportunity to sue, even if the statute of limitations has expired.
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