The US Department of Justice has stated that former president Donald Trump may be held accountable for insulting remarks about a woman who accused him of rape.
Its attorneys previously contended that Mr. Trump was exempt from prosecution because he was president during the remarks in 2019.
However, federal lawyers stated on Tuesday that they no longer had “sufficient basis” to determine that Mr. Trump had acted by his responsibilities.
The verdict strengthens E Jean Carroll’s slander claim against Donald Trump.
After being convicted for sexually abusing the former magazine columnist in 1996 at a New York department store, Mr. Trump was forced to pay her $5 million (£3.9 million) in May.
Ms. Carroll, 79, is suing Mr. Trump for defamation and asking for $10 million in the January trial.
The lawsuit refers to his comments regarding her in 2019 in response to questioning from reporters.
Updates to the case have been made to reflect additional remarks he made concerning her at a CNN town hall the day following the court’s decision two months ago.
Previously, the justice department had taken the stance that government lawyers may protect Mr. Trump because he acted as president when he made the remarks.
However, on Tuesday, the former president’s attorneys stated that “there is no longer a solid foundation to find that the former president was motivated by more than an inconsequential’ desire to serve the United States Government.
The justice department said that “Mr. Trump was motivated by a ‘personal grievance’ stemming from events that occurred many years before Mr. Trump’s presidency” in a document submitted to the judge overseeing the case.
The letter mentioned the Manhattan civil trial earlier this year, stating that new evidence had surfaced since Mr. Trump, 77, left office.
Even though Mr. Trump’s comments were made through official channels, the justice department claimed that the accusation behind them was “a purely personal incident: an alleged sexual assault that occurred decades before Mr. Trump’s presidency”.
Ms. Carroll’s attorney welcomed the reappraisal by the justice department.
Roberta A. Kaplan stated, “We have always thought that Donald Trump made slanderous remarks about our client in June 2019 out of personal hatred, ill will, and spite, and not as president of the United States.
Source: BBC News