Judge rules Trump must sit for deposition in rape accuser’s lawsuit next week

Politics

A federal judge has denied former President Trump’s motion to pause the proceedings of a defamation suit against him from a woman who has accused him of rape while appeals over the case play out, setting him up for a deposition next week. 

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on Wednesday that Trump’s argument did not meet the legal threshold required for a stay to be issued. Trump has been pushing for the United States to be substituted in E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit against him because the comments Trump made denying her claim and criticizing her happened while he was president. 

Carroll has accused Trump of raping her at a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. Trump has countered by accusing Carroll of lying and making remarks criticizing her appearance. 

Trump requested that proceedings in the defamation case that Carroll filed in response be paused while the D.C. Court of Appeals weighs whether Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he criticized Carroll, but Kaplan ruled that Trump has not demonstrated a likelihood to succeed on the merits of his argument. 

Kaplan wrote in his ruling that the court could rule either way on the question, but Trump did not give a reason for him to conclude that the ruling will be in his favor. 

He also found that Trump failed to show a meaningful threat of irreparable injury if a stay is not put in place. 

Trump had argued that he should have immunity from the suit under the Westfall Act, which protects government employees from civil lawsuits if they are acting in their capacity as government officials. But the question as to whether Trump was acting in his capacity as president is unresolved. 

Kaplan also found that a stay would cause irreparable injury to Carroll. He said Trump appears to be attempting to delay the case as much as possible, and 20 months have already passed from when Kaplan initially denied Trump’s motion to substitute the United States for him in the lawsuit. 

“The defendant should not be permitted to run out the clock on the plaintiff’s attempt to gain a remedy for what allegedly was a serious wrong,” Kaplan said. 

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, said in a statement that they are pleased with the ruling against Trump’s requested stay. Roberta Kaplan said they also look forward to filing a lawsuit against Trump under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, a law that Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed in May to create a one-year window for those who experienced sexual assault to file civil lawsuits against abusers regardless of when the abuse happened.

That window will open in late November.

Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said in a statement that Carroll’s case is baseless. 

“We look forward to establishing on the record that this case is, and always has been, entirely without merit,” she said. 

Trump’s deposition is now set for next Wednesday.

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