The defamation case against Donald Trump has taken a new turn, with E Jean Carroll, who accuses the president of raping her in the mid-1990s, offering to delay collecting depositions and DNA evidence if he gives up documents connected to the case.
Mr Trump’s efforts to have the case delayed or dismissed most recently included having the Justice Department substitute for him as the defendant, based on his position as president and as the alleged defamation took place while he was in office.
However, District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the president is not an employee of the government and that Ms Carroll’s allegations are not related to his actions in an official capacity. Therefore the Justice Department cannot defend him as a government employee.
While the department appeals the decision, lawyers have argued that legal proceedings should be halted as moving ahead with discovery at this point could be irreparably harmful to the president.
Ms Carroll’s lawyers say in a court filing on Thursday that depositions and DNA samples can wait until after the appeal ruling, but they contradict the claim of “irreparable harm” based on the fact that Mr Trump has already “engaged in substantial discovery” when requesting documents of Ms Carroll.
In light of that, the filing says that the case should continue and is “unlikely to involve many documents and any burden on President Trump’s official duties will end when he leaves office in a few weeks”.
In a footnote to the assertion that these are the last few weeks of his administration, Ms Carroll’s lawyers write: “President Trump may take the position that he has in fact been re-elected to a second term in office. The Court need not indulge such dangerous nonsense in deciding whether to stay proceedings here.”
Posting images of the court filing, Ms Carroll marked the news by posting: Fear and loathing in the Trump suit,” on Twitter.
Ms Carroll accused the president of raping her in the dressing room of a New York department store in the 1990s in a book excerpt published in a 2019 edition of New York magazine.
She is one of at least 26 women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault, all of which he has denied.
If the case does indeed move forward to the deposition and evidence-gathering stage, Ms Carroll says she kept the dress she was wearing the day of the alleged incident, and that it contains the president’s genetic material.
Ms Carroll is seeking a sample of Mr Trump’s DNA as potential evidence to verify her claims and prove that he defamed her when he said that she was lying about the incident.
In an Oval Office interview with The Hill, the president said: “I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?”
The defamation suit is one of a number of investigations and lawsuits the president will face without the added layer of protection the White House can provide, including probes into his finances and potential fraud.