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Lawyer: Trump using ‘desperate’ tactics in defamation suit

December 11, 2020 Tom Hays Associated Press
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The latest legal maneuvers by President Donald Trump are further proof he’s “desperate to avoid justice” in a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says he raped her in the 1990s, one of her lawyers told a federal judge Friday.

Trump’s lawyers “have used every stall tactic in the book,” Joshua Matz, an attorney for columnist E. Jean Carroll, said during a teleconference.

Matz argued that the most recent tactic was a meritless request to stop the clock on the case while they appeal U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan’s refusal to let the United States replace Trump as the defendant.

Kaplan did not rule on the request for a stay pending a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. He instead ordered Carroll’s attorneys to respond in writing while pressuring lawyers for the president to file a brief with the appeals court to keep the case moving.

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“It would be in your interest for that to happen soon — very soon,” the judge said.

A private lawyer arguing for Trump, Paul Burgo, made no mention of the presidential election result. Justice Department attorneys assigned to the case were not on the call.

Carroll has said Trump raped her in a luxury department store dressing room a quarter century ago after they randomly crossed paths and engaged in conversation as each recognized the other’s measure of fame.

Trump said in June that Carroll was “totally lying” to sell a memoir and that he’d never met her, though a 1987 photo showed them and their then-spouses at a social event. He said the photo captured a moment when he was standing in a line.

Kaplan concluded last month in a written decision that Trump’s statements did not constitute an official act of the presidency and were outside the scope of his employment as president. Substituting the United States for Trump would leave taxpayers responsible for any payout in the case.

Justice Department attorneys say Trump had to respond to Carroll’s accusations because they related to his fitness for office.

The Associated Press does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.

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