(NEW YORK) — A federal judge in New York rejected for a second time on Wednesday former President Donald Trump’s attempt to have the United States government be substituted for him as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit by former Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll and refused to stop a deposition by Trump scheduled for next week.
“Completing those depositions — which already have been delayed for years — would impose no undue burden on Mr. Trump,” Judge Lewis Kaplan said. “The defendant should not be permitted to run the clock out on plaintiff’s attempt to gain a remedy for what allegedly was a serious wrong.”
Trump is scheduled to sit for a deposition Oct. 19.
“We are pleased that Judge Kaplan agreed with our position not to stay discovery in this case,” Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said.
Trump had asked to put the case on pause while a different court resolves a matter that could ultimately make it go away.
Trump claimed a decision last month by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he was an employee of the federal government meant the United States could substitute for him as the defendant. The government cannot be sued for defamation.
Kaplan said Trump’s view was premature since the appellate court left open the question of whether Trump was acting within the scope of his employment when he denied Carroll’s rape claim and, allegedly, defamed her by degrading her appearance.
The 2nd Circuit asked the D.C. Court of Appeals, whose law governs the scope of conduct by government employees, to weigh in.
“How the question ultimately will be resolved remains unknown. In the meantime, substitution would be premature,” Kaplan said.
An attorney for Trump, Alina Habba, said in a statement, “We look forward to establishing on the record that this case is, and always has been, entirely without merit.”
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