Merrick Garland’s name is mud on Twitter thanks to his decision to allow the Department of Justice to continue to represent Donald Trump as a defendant in the lawsuit brought against him by writer E. Jean Carroll.
In late October 2020, a federal judge had denied the DOJ’s effort to fend off Carroll’s rape allegations in a defamation suit on the taxpayer’s dime. In a new development in the case at the time, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan made the record abundantly clear in a one-page order in which he instructed that Trump’s prior private counsel in the state lawsuit represent him in federal court.
But in a brief filed Monday in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City, the Biden DOJ argued that it should represent Trump, as nearly everything he said and did as president was a matter of government action.
New, with more to come: DOJ under Biden is keeping up the previous admin's effort to take over Trump's defense against a defamation lawsuit filed by writer E. Jean Carroll — an effort Biden criticized during the campaign.
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) June 8, 2021
“Speaking to the public and the press on matters of public concern is undoubtedly part of an elected official’s job,” the brief states. “Courts have thus consistently and repeatedly held that allegedly defamatory statements made in that context are within the scope of elected officials’ employment — including when the statements were prompted by press inquiries about the official’s private life.”
It’s horrific that Donald Trump raped @ejeancarroll in a NYC department store years ago. But it’s truly shocking that the current DOJ would allow Donald Trump to get away with lying about it,
thereby depriving our client of her day in court. https://t.co/ogc3QVDYev
— Robbie Kaplan (@kaplanrobbie) June 8, 2021
E. Jean Carroll, never a shrinking violet, was angry with the announcement but responded to the news with her usual aplomb. “As women across the country are standing up and holding men accountable for assault, the DOJ is trying to stop me from having that same right,” the best-selling author said in a statement. “I am angry! I am offended! I and my attorneys Robbie Kaplan and Joshua Matz are confident that Judge Kaplan’s decision will be affirmed by the Second Circuit.”
Trump’s legal team also responded to the Justice Department’s move, saying that the suit “must be dismissed in a straightforward application of Congress’s decision not to waive sovereign immunity for defamation.”
Really at a loss to see how ugly comments about a woman who alleged Trump raped her decades before he became president were made "within the scope of his employment." Also at a loss to figure out why my tax $ should be used for Trump's defense. https://t.co/3v26eLEudP
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) June 8, 2021
The inexplicable decision set off shockwaves throughout Twitter, where Carroll has a following of nearly a quarter of a million, many of them prominent names from the entertainment industry, who angrily expressed their disdain for Garland and their continued support for Carroll, who still has Trump’s DNA on the dress she was wearing the night he allegedly (we have to say that for now because legal reasons, but COME ON) raped her.
— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) June 8, 2021
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) June 8, 2021
I stand with my friend @ejeancarroll. She was raped by Donald Trump, and her defamation suit against him should go to trial.
— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) June 8, 2021
To say that I am deeply disappointed in Merrick Garland deciding to take Donald Trump‘s case against E. Jean Carroll is an understatement. It was not legally necessary or ethically correct. Moreover it reflects this country’s long history of racism and misogyny.
— Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) June 8, 2021