A USA federal judge has dismissed an effort by the Department of Justice (DoJ) to defend President Donald Trump in a case brought by a woman who accuses him of raping her.
Carroll then sued Trump in state court in NY past year for defamation, contending he harmed her reputation with his counter-claims.
The move had threatened to curb the lawsuit, since the government can not be sued for defamation, but on Tuesday district Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed the department's argument.
Carroll says the assault occurred at the Bergdorf Goodman store in Midtown Manhattan in late 1995 or early 1996, when she met Trump while shopping. "Even if he were such an 'employee, ' President Trump's allegedly defamatory statements concerning Ms. Carroll would not have been within the scope of his employment". The Justice Department hoped to move the case to federal court and substitute in the United States as the defendant instead of Trump, according the Times.
Carroll, who wants unspecified damages and a retraction of Trump's statements, also seeks a DNA sample from Trump to see whether it matches as-yet-unidentified male genetic material found on a dress that she says she was wearing during the alleged attack. The DOJ argued that Trump was acting as a government employee when he attacked Carroll and said that she was lying and only motivated by money with her allegation, thus the government should be the defendant and not Trump.
Lawyers for Carroll had written that "only in a world gone mad could it somehow be presidential, not personal, for Trump to slander a woman who he sexually assaulted".
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Carroll's attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said the case will now be filed in federal court, adding: "This personal and brutal attack can not be attributed to the position of president".
The case is now set to proceed in federal court.
Last month, the DoJ moved to replace Trump's legal team with government lawyers to protect him against Carroll's accusation that Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, the New York Times reported.
But the judge said its arguments went "much too far" by leaving Mr Trump "free (to) defame anyone who criticises his conduct or impugns his character", without consequences for the president and regardless of the harm to his target.
Kaplan wrote that Trump's comments concerned an alleged sexual assault that predates his time in office, and the allegations against him "have no relationship to the official business of the United States". "I'm glad Judge Kaplan understood these basic facts", said Carroll - who was a columnist for Elle - in a statement.
Mr Kaplan said it would be different if Mr Trump were being challenged in court over his official conduct.