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Lawyers: Trump had to speak about rape claim to show fitness


PTI, Oct 20, 2020, 8:45 AM IST

New York: President Donald Trump was addressing matters relating to his fitness for office when he claimed that a woman who said he raped her in a department store was lying and was politically motivated, Justice Department lawyers said Monday.

The lawyers argued in papers in Manhattan federal court that the president should be replaced as the defendant in E. Jean Carroll”s defamation lawsuit by the Justice Department because he was acting in an official capacity when he made his statements.

They said he was entitled to refute Carroll”s claims because she was trying to call “into question the president”s fitness for office and a response was necessary for the president to effectively govern.”

The lawyers had made similar arguments before and were replying to written arguments submitted to a judge by lawyers for Carroll, a media figure who hosted an advice show in the mid-1990s when she says she was attacked.

On Monday, they wrote that every court that has considered the issue has found that the United States can substitute itself as the defendant when a defamation lawsuit against a federal elected official results from a statement made on a matter of concern or interest to the official”s constituents.

“This is even clearer with respect to the defendant here — the President of the United States — and under the circumstances here, where the President addressed matters relating to his fitness for office as part of an official White House response to press inquiries,” they wrote.

Earlier this month, Carroll”s attorn

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