The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday appealed a federal judge's decision holding President Donald Trump as a defendant in a defamation suit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, who alleged he raped her two decades ago.
Judge Lewis Kaplan last month banned the Justice Department from replacing the alleged Lame Duck President as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Kaplan's decision effectively saved Carroll's lawsuit from dismissal.
Attorney General William Barr said if the government were traded as a defendant as he wished, the case would be dismissed because the government had not waived sovereign immunity as protection from the defendant government is known as.
The Justice Department has argued that Trump was serving as a government employee when he said Carroll lied and was motivated by money, alleging he attacked her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1995 or 1996.
Kaplan flatly rejected this argument.
"The President of the United States is not an employee of the government for the purposes of the law," wrote Kaplan in a 59-page judgment published in Manhattan District Court on October 27.
"Even if he were such an employee, President Trump's allegedly defamatory statements about Ms. Carroll would not have fallen within the scope of his appointment," Kaplan wrote.
"Accordingly, the motion to replace the United States in place of President Trump is denied."
Carroll had tweeted after the verdict: "This victory is for every woman in the country!"
The Justice Department appeal will be filed in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as indicated by the filing with the Manhattan federal court.
Carroll's attorney, Robbie Kaplan, who is unrelated to the judge, said, "We are not at all surprised that the current Justice Department, which requested intervention in E Jean Carroll's case at the request of the White House, is appealing to the judge's decision Chaplain. "
"From the outset, Donald Trump's primary goal has been to avoid detection and cause delays," Kaplan said in a statement.
"It remains to be seen whether the new attorney general will agree that Trump acted as part of his appointment as president when he defamed our client. In any case, we are confident that the second circuit will confirm the comprehensive and positive result of the district court – reasonable opinion. "
A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Carroll's lawsuit was pending in New York State Court for nearly a year, where Trump was represented by private attorneys, before the Justice Department intervened and brought the case to federal court in an attempt to replace the president with the government as a defendant.
The department's move came shortly after a state judge ruled that Trump would have been forced to submit to questioning by Carroll's lawyers.
Trump would also have to undergo a DNA test to see if his genetic material was on a dress that court rulings said Carroll was wearing during the alleged attack.
Carroll had written the "Ask E. Jean" column of advice in Elle magazine for more than a quarter of a century before the magazine released it in early 2020.
Her previous writing for NBC's "Saturday Night Live" earned her an Emmy nomination.
She is also the author of a biography on gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and a book containing her claim about Trump: "What Do We Need Men For: A Humble Proposition."
Carroll first alleged that he was raped by Trump in an article published in New York magazine in July 2019.
Trump responded by claiming he "never met this person" and also said that Carroll was trying to "advertise" and "sell a book" with her allegations.
But photos show Trump greeting Carroll at an event well before the encounter.
Several other women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. He has denied her every allegation.
But shortly before the 2016 presidential election, a 2005 recording of Access Hollywood revealed that Trump bragged about grasping women's genitals without her consent.