Trump seeks to halt rape accuser E. Jean Carroll's defamation suit

American writer E. Jean Carroll arrives for her hearing at the federal court in New York on Oct 21, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - US President Donald Trump's lawyer asked a judge to halt a defamation lawsuit brought by Ms E. Jean Carroll, saying the case should be put on hold while the US Justice Department appeals for a ruling to have the government step in as the defendant.

The filing in Manhattan late Thursday (Dec 10) by Mr Marc Kasowitz came ahead of a Friday hearing in the suit filed against Mr Trump by the New York advice columnist, who claims he raped her two decades ago.

Ms Carroll sued the President after he called her a politically motivated liar.

US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in October rejected the Justice Department's bid to replace Mr Trump as the defendant, ruling that his statements about Ms Carroll were not made as part of his presidential duties.

Had Judge Kaplan allowed the substitution, the case would have been dismissed because the government can't be sued for defamation.

KMr aplan held that Mr Trump isn't a federal "employee" under a law that allows the US to replace government workers as defendants in lawsuits over actions taken as part of their job.

Either way, Mr Trump won't be a government employee much longer, and it's unclear what President-elect Joe Biden's Justice Department and a likely different attorney-general will do with the legal action when his new administration gets underway in January.

Ms Roberta Kaplan, Ms Carroll's lawyer, didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Ms Carroll previously said that she's confident the US Court of Appeals in New York will uphold the decision so the case can move quickly to the exchange of evidence.

Ms Kaplan has been pushing to depose Trump under oath and force him to submit a DNA sample to compare to a sample from the dress Ms Carroll says she wore on the day of the attack.

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