The first day saw opening statements by lawyers for E. Jean Carroll, a writer who was an advice columnist for Elle Magazine, and Donald Trump.
Carroll accuses Trump of assaulting her in a dressing room of the New York department store Bergdorf Goodman in 1996 after they ran into each other at the entrance and he asked for help in choosing a present for a friend.
Carroll sat stony faced at the front of the courtroom as her lawyer, Shawn Crowley, told the jury that Trump manoeuvred her client into a dressing room and then attacked her. The lawyer said Trump banged Carroll’s head against the wall, pinned her arms back with one hand, pulled her tights down with the other and then rammed his fingers into her vagina.
Crowley said that Carroll kicked Trump and tried to knee him off but he was too strong for her.
“He removed his hand and forced his penis inside her,” the lawyer told the jury.
But Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, told the jury of three women and six men that Carroll filed the lawsuit for political ends, to sell a book and for public attention.
Tacopina said that the rape accusation was invented by Carroll and two other women who are expected to testify that she told them about the assault shortly afterwards.
“They schemed to hurt Donald Trump politically,” he said.
Amidst all the other investigations into him, this case has got relatively little publicity. But this is the first case against him to actually go to trial.
Carroll is asking for unspecified damages for battery and defamation and for Trump to retract the 2022 statement he made on his social media site.
Trump denies this but adds in his typical classless way, “while I am not supposed to say it, I will. This woman is not my type!” So instead of saying, like any normal person, that this was something that he would never do, he is implying that he could have done it if he had found the the woman to be attractive.
Two of Carroll’s friends have said she told them about the alleged attack soon afterward. She never informed police or anyone else until she recounted the story in a 2019 memoir and magazine excerpt. By that point, the criminal statute of limitations had expired long ago, leaving only the option of a civil case.
The statute of limitations for people to bring civil lawsuits over sexual assault in New York is generally three years. But in 2022, New York passed the Adult Survivors Act, which opened a one-year window — from Nov. 24, 2022, to Nov. 24, 2023 — for people to sue their alleged assailants even if the statute of limitations had expired. Carroll filed her lawsuit within minutes of the law taking effect on Nov. 24, 2022.
Carroll never contacted the police at the time of the alleged incident and, according to her, told only two friends about it before going public with her claims decades later, in 2019. By that point, the criminal statute of limitations had expired long ago.
What can this case actually decide?
Trump may have to pay Carroll if the jury sides against him in the case, but he faces no legal repercussions. Since it’s a civil suit, the jury isn’t responsible for deciding if Trump is legally guilty of rape. However, they will have to determine “what, if anything,” happened, according to [US district judge Lewis] Kaplan, because for Trump’s statements that the rape “never happened” to be defamatory, the jury has to determine they were false.
Attorney Andrew Lieb, Lieb at Law, told Newsweek on Tuesday that “regardless of how strong Carroll’s victory is over Trump, if at all, it will never result in a legal finding that he is guilty of rape. That is because this case is in civil court and rape is in criminal court with different procedural rules, burdens, and standards.”
The trial is expected to last one or two weeks. Carroll has not indicated whether she will call Trump as a witness. He has already given a deposition which is likely to be used.
This case could be tricky for Trump. I am not a lawyer but as I understand it, a civil trial has a lower bar to meet than a criminal trial, in that as the plaintiff you just need to establish a preponderance of evidence in your favor, not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, where ‘preponderance’ means that it is more likely than not that your version of events is correct. Furthermore, in New York state you do not need to get a unanimous verdict, but at least 5/6th of the number of jurors, which in this case means eight out of nine.
This case isn’t a giant-killer, but it will be an additional drain on his time and money and that’s a good thing. Plus, if he loses, that will be more evidence that he is a loser, not a winner, and while his base will forgive or forget anything he does to hurt people they will not back a perceived loser.
I can’t see this hurting him with his base. If he loses the trial, they will take the position that the jury was conned.
^ But America has a baffling number of people that are somehow still undecided or wavering, and anything that gets them to view Trump negatively is a net good.
Assuming he did the act, which seems likely but this is why they have trials in front of juries.
Deepak Shetty says
Trump loses : See this is more evidence of the weaponization of Government, the courts , the justice department , the deep state. They are all out to get you , the White male American by getting me your handsome, business savvy, genius , handsome , well endowed but not bizarrely shaped , champion. Send me money! By the way my inauguration crowd was bigger than Obama’s.
Trump wins : They are all out to get you, the White male American by getting me your handsome, business savvy, genius , handsome , well endowed but not bizarrely shaped , champion. Send me money! By the way my inauguration crowd was bigger than Obama’s.
John Morales says
“statute of limitations”
Such a crude tool. Too blunt.
I don’t like it. But, then, I’m not a lawmaker, so no biggie.
Dolt45 boasted about assaulting women, nuff said . He’s just an ignorant,racist, sexist abuser who he treats loyal people badly . I’m still shocked that people voted for him at all