Judge clears way for Trump ousted in defamation case

NEW YORK — A federal judge has rejected a request by former President Donald Trump to stay proceedings in a 2019 defamation case brought against him by a writer who said he was in the The department store locker room raped her.

The decision clears the way for Trump, who denies the claim, to be ousted as scheduled next week.

In a lawsuit brought against Trump by former Elle Magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, Trump recently won a temporary reprieve from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which sent the case to the Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to resolve the special Whether Trump was a federal employee as defined by law when he publicly refuted Carroll’s story.

The Justice Department has previously tried to intervene in the case on Trump’s behalf, arguing that he was technically an employee of the U.S. government when he entered the White House and that because he acted within the scope of his employment, he was legally protected from civil suits. When he denied Carroll’s claims and made disparaging comments about her.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to intervene because a waiver of liability might apply, which would have the effect of terminating the case. Kaplan’s ruling was overturned by the 2nd Circuit last month, but the District of Columbia Court of Appeals could ultimately uphold the original decision, excluding the Justice Department.

In Kaplan’s ruling Wednesday, the judge said Trump and Carroll’s testimony was essentially what the two sides had to complete the pretrial discovery process. Carroll is scheduled to testify on Friday, while Trump is scheduled to testify in October. 19.

“Completing these testimony, which has been delayed for years, will not impose an undue burden on Mr. Trump, let alone any irreparable harm,” Kaplan said.

Carroll has publicly accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in the Bergdorf Goodman locker room in the 1990s, a claim the former president has vehemently denied. She is expected to bring additional charges of assault and willful emotional distress under New York’s Adult Survivor Act, which opens a time window for sexual assault plaintiffs to sue for alleged incidents beyond the statute of limitations.

“We are pleased that Judge Kaplan agreed with us and will not withhold discovery in this case,” said Carroll attorney Roberta Kaplan, who is not associated with the judge in the case. “We look forward to bringing a case under the Adult Survivor Act and going all out for a trial.”

Trump can still appeal Wednesday’s decision ahead of testimony next week. It is unclear whether he intends to do so. In a lengthy statement, he called the U.S. legal system a “shameful disgrace” and repeated some comments about his accusers being accused of defamation.

“We look forward to demonstrating on the record that this case is, and always has been, completely unfounded,” Trump attorney Alina Haba said in a statement.

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