Judge Orders DOJ To GTFO Of Trump's Rape We Mean Defamation Case

Legal

The earth is healing! Well, eventually. But in the meantime, please enjoy this delightful order from US District Judge Lewis Kaplan inviting the Justice Department to GTFO of E. Jean Carroll's defamation suit against our soon-to-be-ex president.

After the author went public with her story of being sexually assaulted by Trump in a department store decades ago, the president used his bully pulpit to call her a liar who was too ugly to rape.

"I'll say it with great respect: Number one, she's not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?" he said, adding in another interview that Carroll was "Totally lying. I don't know anything about her."

Carroll sued for defamation, and after six months of Trump ducking the process server and trying to assert some magical cloak of presidential immunity, the New York State court finally ordered him to submit to discovery, including handing over a DNA sample to be matched to male genetic material on the dress Carroll says she wore the day of the assault.


But then Bill Barr swooped in like an avenging angel and moved to substitute the government as defendant on the grounds that calling women un-rapable liars is just part of the president's job. Because of the vagaries of federal law, the attorney general was able to remove the case to federal court. But once there, he slammed right into the wall of Southern District of New York Judge Kaplan, who signaled his lack of support for the Barr gambit by immediately forcing the government to re-caption the case — the DOJ had attempted to docket it as Carroll v. United States, but the court ordered it be refiled with its original caption, Carroll v. Trump.

In October, the judge ruled that Trump was neither an employee of the federal government nor acting within the scope of his "employment" when he talked shit about Carroll. And on Friday the court continued its smackdown, declining the Justice Department's offer to subsidize the president's legal defense by taking over for his private lawyers.

"[B]y virtue of their appearance on behalf of Mr. Trump in the state court, Messrs. Kasowitz and Burgo and Ms. Montenegro represent Mr. Trump in this removed action unless and until relieved by this Court," Judge Kaplan wrote. "Nevertheless, the docket sheet erroneously lists Mr. Terrell [an attorney in the DOJ's Civil Division] and another attorney as counsel for defendant Trump. That is incorrect. They represent only the United States."

He further ordered the clerk to "correct the docket sheet to reflect that (1) Messrs. Terrell and his colleagues at the DOJ represent only the United States of America and (2) Messrs. Kasowitz and Burgo and Ms. Montenegro represent Mr. Trump. The Clerk shall mail copies of this order, all others entered by this Court subsequent to removal, and the Court's opinion to counsel for Mr. Trump."

And in case you missed it, counsel for Mr. Trump would be those guys that he has to pay for himself. Or, hell, maybe he's conning the RNC or the campaign into ponying up the cash. We would not faint from shock if the Grifter in Chief was finding a way to pay for this with other people's money. But as long as it doesn't come from the government's pocket, we're calling it a win.

Godspeed, Ms. Carroll. Grab him by the process!

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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