Former US President Donald Trump is facing a civil trial in which he is being sued for defamation and battery by E. Jean Carroll. Carroll alleges that Trump sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s in a changing room at the luxury Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan. The trial, which is not criminal in nature, is part of a string of legal woes that may impact Trump’s 2024 run for a second presidential term.
Carroll initially made the allegation in an excerpt from her book published by New York Magazine in 2019. Trump responded by stating that he has never met her, that she was “not his type,” and that she was “totally lying.” Carroll sued Trump for defamation in 2019 but was unable to include the rape claim because the statute of limitations for the alleged offense had expired.
However, a new law passed in New York in November 2020 allowed victims of sexual assault a one-year window to sue their alleged abusers decades after attacks may have occurred. Carroll’s lawyers then filed a new suit that accused Trump of battery when he “forcibly raped and groped” her. The lawsuit also included defamation for a post that Trump made on his Truth Social platform in October where he denied the alleged rape and referred to Carroll as a “complete con job.”
In the trial’s opening arguments, Carroll’s lawyer, Shawn Crowley, said that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll after he playfully asked her for advice on buying a women’s lingerie gift. Once inside the dressing room, Trump’s demeanor changed, and he became almost twice Carroll’s size. The assault caused significant psychological harm to Carroll, and the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for “lasting psychological and pecuniary harms, loss of dignity and self-esteem, and invasion of her privacy.”
Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, denied the allegations and accused Carroll of abusing the system for money, political reasons, and status. Tacopina stated that there was no evidence of the assault and that Trump’s denial of the alleged rape was an opinion and protected under the First Amendment.
The trial is expected to last one to two weeks, and the jury, made up of six men and three women, has been told they will have their anonymity preserved in what is set to be a contentious case. They will decide whether the former president is guilty and, if so, how much in damages to award Carroll. Trump has provided sworn testimony in the case, but Carroll’s lawyers have said they do not intend to call him to the witness stand.
If Trump loses the case, it will be the first time he has ever been held legally liable for an allegation of sexual assault. The trial is part of a barrage of legal woes that threaten to derail Trump’s 2024 run for a second presidential term. Earlier this month, Trump was charged with 34 counts related to a hush-money payment made just before the 2016 election that propelled him to the White House. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In addition to the current trial, Trump is being investigated for his alleged mishandling of classified documents taken from the White House, his involvement in the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the southern state of Georgia.
In conclusion, the civil trial of E. Jean Carroll versus former President Donald Trump is a highly anticipated legal proceeding. The case centers around allegations made by Carroll that Trump sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s, which Trump has vehemently denied. The trial marks a significant moment in Trump’s legal troubles, as it is the first time he has been held legally liable for an allegation of sexual assault if found guilty.
The outcome of the trial could potentially derail his chances of running for a second presidential term in 2024. The trial is expected to last one to two weeks, and the jury will decide whether Trump is guilty and how much in damages to award Carroll. It remains to be seen how this trial will play out and what impact it will have on Trump’s future endeavors.