Shocking: Trump Denied Immunity

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – A federal appeals court recently decided that former President Trump cannot claim presidential immunity in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by author E. Jean Carroll. This decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit blocks Trump’s attempt to avoid a civil trial next month, potentially leading to a Supreme Court challenge.

The ruling by a three-judge panel concluded that presidential immunity is not absolute and can be waived. Trump, according to the court, had already waived this defense. The panel dismissed Trump’s various arguments in favor of asserting this defense.

Judge José Cabranes, writing the 35-page decision, stated that allowing waiver of presidential immunity actually supports the separation of powers and the President’s authority to make decisions, including the choice to engage in litigation.

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, criticized the ruling as “fundamentally flawed” and indicated that they intend to seek a review by the Supreme Court.

Carroll, a former advice columnist, has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s at a department store in New York City, a claim Trump strongly denies. Earlier, a jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll, though not for rape, and ordered him to pay $5 million. Carroll is now pursuing a second trial against Trump, focusing on defamation due to his initial denials of her allegations.

A federal judge has already determined Trump’s liability in this case. The trial, set to start on January 16, the day after the Republican Iowa caucuses, will decide the damages Trump must pay.

This appeal to claim immunity was Trump’s most significant legal move to avoid the trial. The ruling from the 2nd Circuit upholds an earlier decision by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is set to preside over the upcoming trial.

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney (who is not related to Judge Kaplan), expressed satisfaction with the 2nd Circuit’s affirmation of Judge Kaplan’s rulings, and she looks forward to proceeding with the trial next month.

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