DOJ won’t shield Trump from claims he defamed writer E. Jean Carroll

The US Justice Department has declared that it will not protect former President Trump from defamation claims made by writer E. Jean Carroll, reversing an earlier decision from the Biden administration.

New decision: The Justice Department has informed both Trump’s and Carroll’s lawyers of its decision.
* It stated there is insufficient evidence to conclude that Trump, when denying sexual assault allegations from Carroll and making negative comments about her, was acting within his official duties.

Legal implications: The Westfall Act, had it been applied, could have protected Trump from Carroll’s civil litigation.
* Government workers are shielded from certain lawsuits when acting within their job parameters, thus this decision is a significant shift.

Carroll’s case: Carroll first filed the defamation suit three years ago.
* A recent jury verdict found Trump liable for battery and defamation against Carroll, awarding her millions in damages.
* Carroll’s legal team is looking forward to proceeding to trial in January 2024.

Legal burdens for Trump: This adds another legal issue for Trump, who is also facing criminal charges in Manhattan over alleged hush money payments and federal charges for alleged obstruction and retention of classified documents.

Justice Department’s stance: Initially, both the Trump and Biden administrations’ Justice Departments defended Trump’s actions as within his presidential duties.
* The Biden Administration’s earlier stance argued that Trump made the comments in question while at the White House, responding to allegations that “could have called into question his fitness to hold the office of the Presidency.” This position has now been reversed.

View original article on NPR

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