Washington DC, Sep 8 (efe-epa).- The United States’ Department of Justice requested on Tuesday that it take over representation of President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who has accused the president of raping her in a New York store in the 1990s.
It is an extraordinary intervention by the department, which is supposed to act as an independent federal agency.
Even though the alleged rape occurred long before Trump became US leader, in a brief filed in the federal court of the southern district of New York, in Manhattan, the DoJ claimed that he was acting within his official scope as president when in 2019 he denied Carroll’s claims.
“President Trump was acting within the scope of his office as President of the United States when he publicly denied as false the allegations made by Plaintiff,” Tuesday’s court filing reads.
In comments to the media he has said “she’s not my type,” that the incident “never happened” and he had “never met this person,” which spurred the defamation complaint.
Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said Tuesday that the DoJ’s argument was “shocking” and criticized the government spending taxpayer money to defend its president over a private issue.
“Trump’s effort to wield the power of the US government to evade responsibility for his private misconduct is without precedent, and shows even more starkly how far he is willing to go to prevent the truth from coming out,” said the lawyer.
In a book published last summer, Carroll claimed that, between the fall of 1995 and spring of 1996, Trump raped her in a dressing room at the well-known Bergdorf Goodman store in Manhattan.
She is also seeking to require Trump to produce a DNA sample to compare to male genetic material on the dress she had been wearing at the time of the alleged encounter.
“Just when @realDonaldTrump is required to produce documents and DNA in discovery, he sics the DOJ on us. THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED!! My attorney, @kaplanrobbie, and I are happy to TAKE THEM ALL ON!” Carroll wrote on Twitter after the request was filed.
The DoJ has faced ongoing criticism that it has acted in the president’s personal interests.
More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct before he entered the White House. EFE-EPA