The news cycle has been so saturated that it’s easy to lose track of what would normally be prominent news. We have the war in Ukraine, Biden announcing his re-election campaign, DeSantis traveling in Japan, the Tennessee Three, and Trump. So much Trump. Amid such a flood of Trump-specific news, significant items are getting lost in the shuffle. One such item is Trump’s civil trial on allegations of rape.
What Is Trump Accused of?
E. Jean Carroll, who is 79 now, and has had an advice column (“Ask E. Jean”) in Elle since 1993, claims that Trump attacked her at a Bergdorf Goodman store in late 1995 or early 1996.
“The pair had bumped into each other while shopping, she said. Mr. Trump then allegedly asked her for advice when buying lingerie for another woman and jokingly asked her to model it for him,” the BBC reported.
“But once in the changing rooms, Ms. Carroll said the real estate tycoon lunged at her, pinned her against a wall and assaulted her.”
Carroll says she did not report the allegations to police because she “was in shock and did not wish to think of herself as a rape victim.”
Two of Carroll’s friends have corroborated her story, saying that they were told of the incident just days after it had occurred.
Carroll first went public with the claims in 2019.
What’s at Stake?
Trump has denied the allegation many times, saying Carroll made up the claim for publicity. According to Trump, the allegations are a “complete con job.”
Again, the charges against Trump are civil in nature, meaning prison or probation is not a potential outcome.
However “the consequences for Mr. Trump could nevertheless be serious,” the BBC reported. If the plaintiff “wins the lawsuit, it would be the first time the former president – who has been the subject of more than two dozen such allegations – would be found legally responsible for sexual assault.”
Trump is not required to attend the trial, and he probably will not attend. Carroll’s lawyers said they have no plans to call Trump as a witness.
And frankly, Trump has items on his agenda that are of even greater concern than this, like a criminal case in Manhattan, two ongoing DOJ investigations, each with the potential to result in criminal charges, and a criminal investigation into alleged election interference in Georgia. Oh, and Trump is also running for president.
Why No Criminal Charges?
Carroll is alleging a rape that occurred in 1995 or 1996 – almost thirty years ago. The criminal statute of limitations has long since expired. The civil statute of limitations had expired, too. But last year, “New York passed the Adult Survivors Act, which allowed a one-year period for victims to file sexual assault lawsuits in the state over claims that would have otherwise exceeded state limitations.”
Carroll filed within the one-year period, and here we are.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.