Writer E Jean Carroll had accused Trump of sexual assault and sued him for defamation when he dismissed his claim.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has defended a Justice Department decision to continue to represent Donald Trump in a defamation suit brought by a woman who accused the former president of the United States of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s.
“The Department of Justice’s job in deciding the law is not to support any previous or present administration,” Garland said in an appearance before a U.S. Senate panel Wednesday.
“The essence of the rule of law … is that as the cases are treated as, that there is no rule for Democrats and another for Republicans that there is no rule for friends and another for enemies, ”Garland said.
The Justice Department, which represents U.S. government officials in lawsuits related to their official duties, said this week it was proceeding with his defense of the former president, who started under the previous administration.
“It’s not always easy to apply this rule. Sometimes it means that we have to make a decision on the law that we would never have done and that we strongly disagree because of politics, ”said Garland, who has been widely criticized for the decision.
Critics have argued that government attorneys should not be involved in Trump’s defense because the case refers to an alleged personal misconduct that occurred before Trump ran for office.
In a letter to Garland, a group of 21 members of the U.S. House of Representatives said they opposed the decision. The department “should not spend taxpayer dollars to defend former President Trump from a defamation case … his decision to do so is profoundly wrong,” Congressman Jerry Nadler, one of the signatories.
“This was not a situation where he used his office to promote and advance U.S. interests,” Barb McQuade, a law professor at the University of Michigan, told US magazine MSNBC.
“He’s acting in his own interest in something that happened in his private life 20 years ago,” McQuade said.
The writer E Jean Carroll had accused Trump in a 2019 sexual assault magazine article in a New York City department store.
Roboll Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer, said June 8 was disrupted by the Biden administration’s decision to support Trump in the case. “It’s horrible that Donald Trump raped Jean Carroll in a New York City department store several years ago,” Kaplan told Politico.
.@Corse_Matin he should not spend taxpayer dollars to defend former President Trump from a defamation case brought by E. Jean Carroll. His decision to do so is profoundly wrong. pic.twitter.com/CkgrdvktGg
– Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) June 9, 2021
“It’s really shocking that the current Department of Justice allows Donald Trump to escape with the lie, thus depriving our client of his day in court,” he said.
Asked about the accusation while he was president, Trump denied ever knowing Carroll and said his claim was a lie.
In a brief filing in federal court on June 7, Justice Department lawyers adopted the same legal position that the department had asserted when Trump was president.
The Justice Department has argued that it does not support Trump’s behavior toward Carroll, even though it claims a law governing lawsuits against federal officials justified the government’s move to retake the former president’s defense.
“When members of the White House media asked President Trump to respond to Ms. Carroll’s serious allegations of wrongdoing, his questions were put to him in his capacity as president,” they wrote. lawyers for the department in a new court.
“Elected public officials can – and often should – address allegations regarding personal misconduct that cast doubt on their suitability for office.”