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a federal judge denied a request by a lawyer for former president Donald Trump to pause proceedings in the case


E. Jean Carroll visits ‘Tell Me Everything’ with John Fugelsang in the SiriusXM Studios on July 11, 2019 in New York.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

A federal judge Wednesday denied a request by a lawyer for former President Donald Trump to pause a lawsuit that accuses him of defaming writer E. Jean Carroll after she claimed he raped her decades ago in New York City.

The decision appears to allow for proceedings and filings to restart in the Manhattan federal district court case even as Trump and the U.S. Department of Justice continue pursuing an appeal of an earlier ruling in the case to a higher court.

Those proceedings could include questioning of Trump by lawyers for Carroll in advance of a possible trial.

Judge Lewis Kaplan’s order Wednesday came nine months after Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz first asked him to “immediately stay all proceedings in the case,” while Trump and the DOJ appealed a prior ruling by Kaplan.

Kaplan in that October ruling had rejected a request by the DOJ to remove Trump as the defendant in the case, and substitute the U.S. government as the defendant.

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The DOJ has argued that it should be the sole defendant, since Trump was acting as a government employee when he claimed that Carroll was lying and motivated by money when she alleged in a July 2019 article that he sexually assaulted her in a dressing room in the Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1995 or 1996.

The DOJ’s request, if it prevailed, would effectively kill Carroll’s lawsuit because the government would not waive its sovereign immunity protection from being sued.

Kaplan flatly rejected the DOJ’s argument in his ruling in October.

“The President of the United States is not an employee of the Government within the meaning of the relevant statutes,” Kaplan wrote in his decision then.

“Even if he were such an employee, President Trump’s allegedly defamatory statements concerning Ms. Carroll would not have been within the scope of his employment,” the judge wrote.

Lawyers for Carroll and Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday’s order by Kaplan, which itself might become the subject of an appeal.

The appeal of Kaplan’s original decision to deny the DOJ’s request to replace Trump as a defendant is continuing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan. Oral arguments in the appeal could take place in November.

Carroll wrote Elle magazine’s “Ask E. Jean” advice column for more than a quarter-century before the magazine fired her in early 2020.

Her past writing for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” garnered her an Emmy nomination, and she is the author of books about gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and as well as a book that included her claim about Trump, “What Do We Need Men For: A Modest Proposal.”

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.



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