On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that President Donald Trump can be sued in his capacity as a private citizen, allowing E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against Trump to move forward. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that the Department of Justice could not step in as the President’s defense, which they had attempted to do in September by claiming that Trump was acting “within the scope” of his role as President when he claimed that Carroll lied about the alleged assault.
E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle columnist, accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in a New York Magazine essay. Less than six months after going public with her allegations, Carroll decided to sue Trump—not over the alleged assault itself, but over how his dismissal of her accusations and labeling her as a liar affected her reputation. (Trump actually claimed that the two of them had never met.) Just a couple of months after filing the lawsuit, Carroll was fired from Elle after over 25 years at the magazine.
For now, E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit against Trump will be moving forward without the DOJ at Trump’s command.