By Jonathan Stempel and Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Donald Trump can’t assert presidential immunity from a defamation lawsuit by author E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of rape, a U.S. appeals court docket dominated on Wednesday, dealing the previous U.S. president one other authorized setback.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a federal choose’s determination to reject Trump’s declare of immunity, discovering Trump had waited too lengthy to lift it as a protection.

Trump’s attorneys within the case, Michael Madaio and Alina Habba, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Carroll within the lawsuit sought no less than $10 million in damages from Trump over feedback he made in June 2019, when he was president, after she first publicly accused him of raping her in a Manhattan division retailer dressing room within the mid-Nineties. Trump denied understanding Carroll, mentioned she was not his “sort,” and that she made up the rape declare to advertise her upcoming memoir.

The previous Elle journal columnist sued in November 2019, however Trump waited till December 2022 earlier than asserting that absolute presidential immunity shielded him from her lawsuit. Underneath this, a president has full immunity from many forms of civil lawsuits whereas in workplace.

In June, U.S. District Decide Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan rejected Trump’s bid to dismiss Carroll’s case and later refused to let Trump increase an immunity protection, citing the delay in looking for to invoke it and the general public curiosity in accountability.

The 2nd Circuit on Wednesday mentioned these selections have been appropriate.

“A 3-year-delay is greater than sufficient, underneath our precedents, to qualify as ‘undue,'” a three-judge panel wrote in its opinion.

Trump’s enchantment was heard on an expedited foundation, forward of a scheduled Jan. 16, 2024, trial.

He has pursued an analogous immunity protection in his federal legal case in Washington wherein he’s accused of unlawfully attempting to overturn his loss within the 2020 presidential election.

Carroll has already received one civil trial in opposition to Trump. In Might, a jury in a second lawsuit awarded her $5 million for sexual assault and defamation after Trump final October once more denied her accusations. Trump is interesting that verdict.

On Sept. 6, Kaplan dominated that the jury’s findings in Might utilized to Carroll’s first lawsuit, making Trump’s denial defamatory. That left for trial solely the difficulty of how a lot cash Trump ought to pay Carroll in damages.

Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to problem Democratic President Joe Biden within the 2024 U.S. election regardless of dealing with 4 federal and state legal indictments. He has pleaded not responsible in these circumstances.

The case is Carroll v. Trump, 2nd U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals, Nos. 23-1045 and 23-1146.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Luc Cohen in New York; Enhancing by Daniel Wallis)

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