(Bloomberg) -- A federal judge denied Donald Trump’s request to put a hold on a defamation suit filed against him by a woman who claims he raped her two decades ago, allowing the case to proceed even as an appeals court weights whether the former president is immune from the suit.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan on Wednesday denied without explanation Trump’s December 2020 request to stay the case brought against him by New York advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. The judge’s brief order was made “without prejudice,” meaning Trump may try again.

Carroll alleges Trump assaulted her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s and then defamed her by calling her a liar when she went public with her claims in 2019. But Trump and the Justice Department -- even in the Biden administration -- have argued Trump can’t be sued because the disputed comments were made while he was a government employee.

In October last year, Kaplan ruled the U.S. government couldn’t substitute itself for Trump as a defendant in the case, which would have ended it. Trump appealed. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan is expected to issue a decision on that question following oral arguments later this year. By allowing the case to proceed in the lower court in the meantime, Kaplan has potentially cleared the way for Carroll to seek a DNA test from Trump, or even a deposition.

“We’re looking forward to oral argument in our case before the Second Circuit during the week of November 29,” Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said in a statement. “In the meantime, we are reviewing Judge Kaplan’s order.”

Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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