Attorney General Bill Barr’s Department of Justice was slammed on Thursday for legally maneuvering that may bring to an end a rape case involving Donald Trump.
Columnist E. Jean Carroll is one of many women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. When her accusations went public, Trump attacked her, leading Carroll to file a defamation suit against Trump.
In an eye-brow raising move, the DOJ is taking over the case, meaning taxpayer lawyers are now defending Trump.
On Thursday evening, Barr spokesperson Kerri Kupec claimed that taxpayer lawyers would not be defending Trump, because their maneuver would make the case go away.
“Myth: By DOJ removing the case from state to fed court, taxpayers are now on the hook for funding the Carroll defamation lawsuit,” Kupec tweeted. “Fact: Once the case shifts to fed court, it becomes an issue of sovereign immunity. Meaning, case over. No case, no cost.”
Legal experts quickly corrected Kupec, noting that the case could only go away after extensive litigation during which Trump’s defense would be paid for by taxpayers.
Former U.S. Attorney and MSNBC legal analyst Barbara McQuade said Kupec was “fighting myths with lies.”
DOJ spokesperson is fighting myths with lies. Sovereign immunity applies only if DOJ prevails on sketchy claim that Trump was acting in scope of employment when he made allegedly defamatory remarks. And even if Trump prevails, there’s a lot of litigation ahead at taxpayer expense https://t.co/dKcv3eA4MQ
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) September 11, 2020
Law professor and CNN legal analyst Steve Vladeck gave his own myth/fact construction to debunk Kupec’s claims.
Myth: Shifting the case to federal court immediately ends it, with no expense borne by the federal government.
Fact: We’re now in for significant litigation over whether the Westfall Act *applies* here—both in the district court and on appeal—for which taxpayers are on the hook. https://t.co/HUHiJjt5oY
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) September 11, 2020
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti called it “a bogus claim.”
Truth: They’re using our tax dollars to litigate a bogus claim that Trump acted within the scope of his employment by denying decades-old sexual assault allegations. The case isn’t going away on that basis. https://t.co/cZl9nQ8xNY
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) September 11, 2020