A federal judge rejected former President Donald Trump’s attempt to pause his deposition in a defamation lawsuit scheduled for later this month saying Trump’s efforts to delay the case are “inexcusable.”
Trump is scheduled to be deposed on October 19 in the defamation lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, a former magazine columnist who accused Trump of raping her in a department store in the mid 1990s. Trump has denied the allegations.
Judge Lewis Kaplan said the lawsuit wasn’t over yet and as they wait for a federal appeals court to rule on a key element of the case, “completing those depositions – which have already been delayed for years – would impose no undue burden on Mr. Trump, let alone any irreparable injury.”
“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,” Kaplan wrote.
The judge said that Carroll would face “substantial injury” from further delay, citing the lengthy appeal process, which has already taken 20 months and is still not over, and the ages of Carroll and Trump, who are both in their 70s. Carroll’s deposition is scheduled for this Friday.
Kaplan noted Trump’s efforts to delay the lawsuit and said his production of “virtually” no documents was “inexcusable.”
An attorney for Trump could not immediately be reached.
“We are pleased that Judge Kaplan agreed with our position onto to stay discovery in this case. We look forward to filing our case under the Adult Survivors Act and moving forward to trial with all dispatch,” said Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney.
Carroll’s attorney had suggested that Trump wanted to stop his deposition after learning that she intends to sue him in November under a new New York state law that allows victims of sexual assault to sue years after the encounter.
The judge said the question of whether Trump raped Carroll is “paramount” to the current case and the future lawsuit and stopping the deposition now because it could be used in the future “would make no sense.”
Carroll sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after he denied raping her in the mid-1990s and said that she wasn’t his type and accused her of fabricating the claim to boost sales of her book.
Trump and the Justice Department argued Trump was a federal employee and his statements denying Carroll’s allegations were made in response to reporters’ questions while he was at the White House. They argued the Justice Department should be substituted as the defendant, which, because the government cannot be sued for defamation, would end the lawsuit. Judge Kaplan ruled against Trump and the DOJ. They appealed.
Last month a federal appeals court ruled that Trump was a federal employee when he denied Carroll’s claim of rape and sexual assault. However, the federal appeals court in New York asked the DC appeals court to determine if Trump was acting in the scope of that employment when he made the allegedly defamatory statements. If the DC court finds that Trump was acting within his role, then the Justice Department would likely be substituted as a defendant.
The DC appeals court has not yet taken up the matter.
This story has been updated with additional details.