The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Tuesday that being president may give former President Donald Trump immunity in a defamation case brought by a woman that claimed he raped her in the 1990s due to him being a government employee.
E. Jean Carroll filed a defamation suit against Trump in 2019 after he publicly denied her claim that he raped her in the mid-1990s while she was in a department store dressing room, Reuters reported.
The former president told reporters at the time that Carroll wasn’t "my type," and that she made up the accusation, which was featured in a book she published while he was president.
Trump denied the claims and asserted in court documents that Carroll could not sue him for defamation because he was president at the time.
A lower federal court ruled that the suit could proceed, and the immunity did not protect Trump, a decision that the second circuit court reversed Tuesday, sending the case back to the lower court, according to the ruling.
"Under the circumstances, we cannot say what the District would do in this case," the appeals court wrote on Tuesday. "Under the laws of the District, were the allegedly libelous public statements made, during his term in office, by the President of the United States, denying allegations of misconduct, with regards to events prior to that term of office, within the scope of his employment as President of the United States?"
Trump, through his attorney in the case, said he was pleased with the latest 2-1 court decision.
"We are extremely pleased with the Second Circuit's decision today in reversing and vacating the District Court's finding in this matter," Trump attorney Alina Habba said in a statement to WENY News. "This decision will protect the ability of all future presidents to effectively govern without hindrance.
"We are confident that the [Washington] D.C. Court of Appeals will find that our client was acting within the scope of his employment when properly repudiating Ms. Carroll's allegations."
The Jerusalem Post reported Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said in a statement she was that "confident" the District of Columbia court would let the case proceed.
The one dissenting judge on the panel, Denny Chin, wrote that Carroll should be able to pursue "at least some" claims, saying "Carroll's allegations plausibly paint a picture of a man pursuing a personal vendetta against an accuser," the Post reported.
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