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U.S. Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Claim of Presidential Immunity

In a defamation lawsuit filed by writer E. Jean Carroll, a US appeals court rejected former President Donald Trump's claim of presidential immunity.

A US appeals court dismissed former President Donald Trump’s claim of presidential immunity in a defamation lawsuit by writer E. Jean Carroll. 

Carroll accused Trump of rape, prompting a legal battle that faced a setback on Wednesday as the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s decision against Trump’s immunity claim.

Legal Setback for Trump:

The court ruled that Trump’s delay in asserting immunity as a defense was untimely, solidifying the rejection of his claim. Alina Habba, one of Trump’s lawyers, criticized the ruling as “fundamentally flawed” and announced plans to seek “immediate review” from the Supreme Court.

Background of the Lawsuit:

Carroll sought damages totaling $10 million from Trump for his remarks made in June 2019, when he denied knowing her, labeled her accusations as a promotional stunt for her upcoming memoir, and claimed she was not his “type.” The lawsuit, filed in November 2019, saw Trump invoking immunity only in December 2022.

Judicial Decisions and Rationale:

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan previously denied Trump’s attempt to dismiss Carroll’s case and later refused his immunity defense, citing the delayed invocation and the public interest in accountability. 

The 2nd Circuit supported these decisions, stating that a three-year delay was considered “undue” per their precedents.

Ongoing Legal Battles and Political Landscape:

The expedited appeal, held before the scheduled January 16, 2024, trial, mirrors Trump’s similar immunity defense in a federal criminal case in Washington. 

Despite facing federal and state criminal indictments, Trump remains the leading contender for the Republican nomination to challenge President Joe Biden in the 2024 US election.

Legal Outcomes and Appeals:

Carroll had previously won a civil trial against Trump, securing $5 million for sexual assault and defamation. 

Currently appealing that verdict, Trump faces the impending issue of determining the amount of damages he must pay Carroll. 

A ruling by Judge Kaplan affirmed that Trump’s denial of Carroll’s accusations constituted defamation.

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