Judge says Justice Department cannot defend Trump in E. Jean Carroll rape defamation suit

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in New York ruled Tuesday that the Justice Department cannot step in to shield President Donald Trump from a libel lawsuit filed by a woman who claims he raped her in a New York City department store more than 20 years ago.

Second, the judge said, the president’s statements about something that happened more than two decades before are not within the scope of his official conduct.

Accepting the government’s view, he said, “would mean that a president is free to defame anyone who criticizes his conduct or impugns his character.”

NBC Judge says Justice Department cannot defend Trump in E. Jean Carroll rape defamation suit