Nov. 25 (UPI) -- The Justice Department on Wednesday appealed a court's decision to block it from interfering in a defamation case brought against President Donald Trump by E. Jean Carroll, who said the president raped her in the 1990s.
Lawyers with the Justice Department's Civil Division filed the notice of appeal Wednesday afternoon.
The Justice Department attempted to protect Trump from prosecution by stepping into the case, arguing it had the right to do so as the defamation allegations were made during his presidency.
Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ruled against the department last month, writing in his opinion that Trump is not an employee of the United States and even if he were his statements concerning Carroll do not fall within the scope of his employment.
"The longer [Trump] delays, the harder he will fall," Carroll tweeted in response to the Justice Department's appeal.
Carroll filed the lawsuit against Trump last year after the president said he had never met the former Elle magazine columnist and suggested she invented the rape scene in order to sell books.
In her memoir published in the summer of 2019, Carroll wrote that Trump had sexually assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s. Trump responded to the accusation saying he had never met her and that "she is trying to sell a book -- that should indicate her motivation."
Roberta Kaplan, Carroll's attorney, said in a statement to ABC News that they aren't surprised by the Justice Department's appeal.
"From the very start of this case, Donald Trump's number one goal has been to avoid discovery and cause delay," wrote Kaplan, who has no relation to Judge Kaplan. "It remains to be seen whether the new attorney general will agree that Trump was acting within the scope of his employment as president when he defamed our client. In any event, we are confident that the second circuit will affirm the district court's comprehensive and well-reasoned opinion."