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The appeals court is grappling with the Justice Department’s efforts to protect Trump from the trial of E. Jean Carroll

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Federal appeals court grappled with Justice Department efforts to intervene on behalf of former President Trump on Friday Donald Trump Baldwin calls out criticism of Trump after filming of “Rust” “surreal” Haley hits stub in Mary Trump’s files in South Carolina to dismiss Trump’s lawsuit over NYT PLUS tax history in a libel lawsuit against writer E. Jean Carroll, who alleges he raped her in years 90.

A three-judge panel of the New York-based 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals questioned arguments by the Biden administration and Trump’s personal attorney that the former president’s comments on Carroll by denying his allegations had been made in the course of his official employment as a government. official.

If the circuit court decides that Trump cannot be sued in his personal capacity, it would doom the case of Carroll, who alleges the former president embarked on a “rampage of defamation aimed at crushing him” when made its allegations public in 2019.

Judge Denny Chin asked if Trump’s attacks on Carroll could be interpreted as statements he made in the course of his official duties.

“Who is he serving when he says something like ‘she’s not my type’,” asked Chin, a person named by Obama. “Is he serving the United States of America when he makes this statement?”

Alina Habba, one of Trump’s personal attorneys, replied yes, that the president was responding to a question from the press regarding his fitness to perform his duties.

“Absolutely,” Habba said. “Because he has to take into account that it couldn’t and wouldn’t have happened, he didn’t.”

Carroll filed her personal lawsuit against Trump in 2019, arguing that the then president slandered her when responding to her allegations, including in an interview with The Hill in which Trump accused her of lying and said, I will say it with great respect: # 1, not my type. No. 2, it never happened. That never happened, okay?

In 2020, the Trump administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to intervene in the case, citing federal law that protects public officials from such prosecutions when they relate to behavior that occurs in the course of of their job. The move was widely criticized by Democrats and some legal experts as an abuse of the department’s resources to protect the president’s personal interests.

A district court judge dismissed the DOJ’s arguments, forcing the Trump administration to appeal. And earlier this year, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Merrick Garland’s memo: Trump judges appear poised to restrict abortion. his efforts to intervene on behalf of Trump before the 2nd Circuit.

Justice Department attorney Mark Freeman argued on Friday that there were important institutional interests for the government at stake in the case.

“The former president made some rude and offensive comments in response to Ms. Carroll’s very serious charges of sexual assault,” Freeman said. “I am not here to defend or justify these comments. I am here because any president faced with a public accusation like this (…) would feel obligated to answer questions from the public, questions from the media.”

Chin asked, “Can a president or congressman on the steps of the Capitol or the White House say whatever he wants and be protected as long as there is a reporter listening?” Is this the government’s position?

Freeman opposes it, saying the DOJ is not asking the court to come up with a hardline rule for what would be a protected speech by a sitting president.

Joshua Matz, an attorney representing Carroll, argued that if the court accepts the position advanced by the DOJ and Trump’s lawyers, it would send the message that top government officials can escape responsibility for their actions.

“To deny a remedy in the name of the sovereign immunity of the nation is at odds with the maxim that no one is above the law,” Matz said. “And we will simply submit that a White House job is not a promise of unlimited prerogative to brutalize victims of prior wrongdoing through personally motivated attacks. It is not the law,” no court ever said it was the law and we would ask this court not to make it law.

At least one panel member, Judge Guido Calabresi, appeared inclined to transfer the case to DC Federal District Court to debate whether Trump’s comments were protected under local law.

The judges also seemed skeptical of Habba’s arguments that Trump was forced to respond publicly because Carroll went on the offensive with his accusations.

“She went to the press. She was a public figure,” Habba said. “She went to publish an excerpt in New York Magazine. Then she published a book. She made it public. She was on the abuser’s side.”

When asked by the judges if there was a limit on the statutory immunity which she said covers the presidential speech, Habba replied. “My limit for you, Your Honor, in plain English would be an unprovoked attack on a citizen.” This is not what happened here. “

Referring to local law covering the extent of employment issues, Calabresi asked, “What DC case are you citing me to say provocation is even relevant?” “

Habba responded that she couldn’t cite a specific case but that the court should take note of the context in which Trump made his comments.

“Whether it’s the physical form of the president who was sitting and running the country, and I think in this case it is,” she said. “He had to answer it. When the press … asks him a question about a story that would affect his ability to sit up, whether it is true or false, he must answer.”

It is not known when the panel could render a decision.

Sources

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2/ https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/584248-appeals-court-grapples-with-doj-effort-to-shield-trump-from-e-jean

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