Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses The Faith and Freedom Coalition’s 2023 “Road to Majority” conference in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2023.
Tasos Katopodis | Reuters
Donald Trump on Wednesday raged about the defamation lawsuit he faces from the writer E. Jean Carroll, a day after the Department of Justice dropped a three-year effort to immunize the former president from Carroll’s claims.
“The DOJ will not defend me in the E. Jean Carroll civil case, which is all part of the political Witch Hunt, lawyered up by apolitical operative who I just beat in another case, financed by a big political funder, and ‘judged’ by a Clinton appointee who truly hates ‘TRUMP,'” he wrote on his social media site.
“The Carroll civil case against me is a Miscarriage of Justice and a total Scam,” Trump added.
The DOJ’s move Tuesday was the latest in a series of bad news for Trump in connection with Carroll, who has two civil suits against him in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Both cases relate to alleged defamatory statements Trump made at different times about Carroll while denying her claim that he raped her in the mid-1990s in the dressing room of a New York department store.
The second of Carroll’s suits went to trial this spring. A jury in May awarded Carroll $5 million in damages from Trump after finding that he was liable for sexually abusing her and defaming her in statements he made about her in late 2022, when he was a private citizen. The jury did not find Trump liable for rape.
The first suit, which relates to statements Trump made about Carroll in 2019, when he was still president, is set to begin trial in January.
E. Jean Carroll, former U.S. President Donald Trump rape accuser, departs Manhattan Federal Court as the civil case goes into deliberations, in New York City, May 8, 2023.
David Dee Delgado | Reuters
Since 2020, the Justice Department had argued that Trump should be replaced as a defendant in that case by the U.S. government, due to the fact that he was president at the time he made the disputed comments.
That effort, which played out in federal district court and two federal appeals courts, had stalled the lawsuit for nearly three years.
If the DOJ’s effort had succeeded, it would have effectively killed Carroll’s first lawsuit, because the federal government can shield itself from civil claims under the doctrine of sovereign immunity.
But on Tuesday, the DOJ dropped its bid, clearing the way for Carroll’s case to proceed to trial. The department cited a recent appeals court decision and other factors, saying there was “no longer a sufficient basis to conclude that the former President was motivated by ‘more than an insignificant’ desire to serve the United States Government.”
The DOJ’s move leaves Trump facing the chance that another jury will determine he defamed Carroll and order him to pay her even more monetary damages, just as the 2024 Republican presidential primary season kicks into gear. Trump currently is the leading contender in that race.
“The statements that I made about Carroll are all true,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social site Wednesday.
From L-R: former President Donald Trump, E. Jean Carroll, John Johnson and Ivana Trump at an NBC party, late 1980s.
Source: U.S. District Court in Manhattan
“I didn’t Rape her (I won that at trial) and other than for this case, I have NO IDEA WHO SHE IS, WHAT SHE LOOKS LIKE, OR ANYTHING ABOUT HER….” he wrote.
Trump also wrote that the first trial, which he lost, “was very unfair, with the other side being able to do and present virtually anything they wanted, and our side being largely and wrongfully shut down by an absolutely hostile, biased, and out of control judge.”
Trump then noted that he is appealing the jury verdict, which he called a “travesty of justice.”
CNBC has requested comment from Carroll’s legal team about Trump’s new statements.