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NEW YORK (AP) — An appeals court in Washington D.C. has been asked to help decide whether Donald Trump was doing his job as president when he denied raping a woman and dismissed his accuser as “not my type.”
The columnist, E. Jean Carroll, sued Trump in 2019, claiming the Republican raped her in the mid-1990s inside a dressing room at a Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan, then lied about it and besmirched her character when she decided to tell her story publicly.
Since then, the case has gotten bogged down in a technical legal dispute over whether Trump should have to defend the lawsuit as a private citizen, or whether the U.S. government should step in as the defendant because Trump was performing his duties as president at the time he issued his denials.
Because the alleged attack happened so long ago, Carroll was originally barred for suing over sexual battery, so she sued for defamation, making the suit largely about disparaging comments Trump made about the rape allegation.
In a 2-to-1 decision Tuesday, a panel of judges on the New York based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked The D.C. Court of Appeals, the highest court in the District of Columbia, to decide whether Trump’s public statements denying Carroll’s rape claims occurred within the scope of his employment.
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