Former President Donald Trump was found liable for defaming and sexually abusing columnist E. Jean Carroll in a New York federal court on Tuesday, May 9. The case in question stems from allegations that Trump raped the author in a department store sometime in the mid-90s. While the left-leaning news media appears jubilant over the verdict – in which 45 must pay damages totaling $5 million – the issue is far from settled. And it seems the Fourth Estate is all too aware that the decision could be reversed on appeal.
Trump to File Appeal
During the trial summation, Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina told the jury Carroll’s story was unbelievable and made up only to both further her book sales and to disparage Trump for political reasons. This line of reasoning was echoed in a statement released immediately after the decision by the Trump Campaign:
“In jurisdictions wholly controlled by the Democratic Party our nation’s justice system is now compromised by extremist left-wing politics. We have allowed false and totally made-up claims from troubled individuals to interfere with our elections, doing great damage.”
“Make no mistake, this entire bogus case is a political endeavor targeting President Trump because he is now an overwhelming front-runner to be once again elected President of the United States.”
Speaking to Fox News shortly after the verdict, the former president set out his plans. “We’ll appeal. We got treated very badly by the Clinton-appointed judge,” Trump said. “And [Jean Carroll] is a Clinton person, too.” He reiterated his basic defense: “I have no idea who this woman is.”
GOP Presidential Contenders
Two of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination weighed in on the verdict. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy presented a position that echoed the former president’s, saying:
“Based on the sheer timing of the allegations – that the alleged offense occurred in the mid-1990s and Ms. Carroll did not sue until 2019-2022, far beyond the normal statute of limitations for the underlying offense, and in the middle of a spate of other legal charges against Trump for other ancient allegations – this seems like just another part of the establishment’s anaphylactic response against its chief political allergen: Donald Trump.”
“I want to win this race by showing voters how I will take the America First movement beyond Trump, and I look forward to facing him on the debate stage,” Ramaswamy continued.
However, Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson was not quite so supportive. “Over the course of my over 25 years of experience in the courtroom, I have seen firsthand how cavalier and arrogant contempt for the rule of law can backfire,” Hutchinson wrote in a statement provided to Fox News. “The jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump.”
Couched Language Abounds
There is some confusion with the jury’s decision, highlighted by Tacopina, who called the verdict “strange,” making the point that the jury had not found Trump liable for rape.
“This was a rape claim. This was a rape case all along and the jury rejected that but made other findings,” he said. “But they rejected her rape claim, and she’d always claimed this was a rape case, so it’s a little perplexing, but we move forward.”
It seems that the usually anti-Trump media is also a little hesitant in its reporting due to the contradictory verdict. Rather than the visceral denouncements that oft accompany a story regarding the former president, the language appears measured. Gone are the declarative sentences that seek to condemn; instead, they are replaced with modifiers such as “according to Carroll,” “that Carroll alleges,” and a host of other mitigating phrases. Is it possible that Trump’s lawyer has a point regarding the “perplexing” verdict?
Being a civil case, Trump faces no jail time. Nor does it prevent him from running for office or from assuming the presidency should he win. What it does, however, is attach to him a label that – in the wake of MeToo – could severely damage his campaign. Until the appeal plays out, whichever way it lands, eggshell treading is the order of the day.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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