Federal Court Rejects Trump’s Ploy To Evade Trial In E. Jean Carroll’s Lawsuit

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A federal appeals court has rejected arguments from Donald Trump seeking to claim presidential immunity — meaning legal protections related to his time in office — amid a lawsuit from writer E. Jean Carroll. The case under dispute is the first she brought against the former president, which accused him of defamation after his antagonistic responses to her account of suffering an incident of sexual assault perpetrated by the eventual president.

Carroll eventually sued Trump a second time, raising legal claims directly covering the alleged misconduct, which a jury broadly affirmed. Defamation accusations became a part of that case as well after Trump kept maligning Carroll following his exit from office. Now, the first set of proceedings is set to reach trial next month but only on the question of the level of financial penalty to impose on the former president after the presiding judge found previous jury determinations to be controlling. The earlier jury already imposed millions of dollars in financial penalties on Trump after finding him liable for claims Carroll had brought.

The appeals court handling Trump’s arguments of presidential immunity against the whole thing concluded that the ex-commander-in-chief essentially waived the arguments by not raising them earlier. “This case presents a vexing question of first impression: whether presidential immunity is waivable. We answer in the affirmative and further hold that Donald J. Trump (‘Defendant’) waived the defense of presidential immunity by failing to raise it as an affirmative defense in his answer to E. Jean Carroll’s (‘Plaintiff’s’) complaint,” the court said, as highlighted earlier by CNN.

Trump has also been trying to use presidential immunity claims to get out of criminal prosecution in the case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith over Trump’s attempts after the last presidential election to stay in power despite losing. Arguments related to that dispute are currently moving forward at two levels. A federal appeals court in D.C. granted Smith’s request for expedited arguments related to the substance of the controversy, while Smith is also asking the Supreme Court to go ahead and take up the dispute so matters can be resolved more quickly.