Trump Just Can’t Stop Making His Problems Worse: Donald Trump has received additional legal news, and it’s terrible.
A federal jury in a defamation and sexual assault case has awarded his accuser $5 million in a decision on April 9.
Journalist E. Jean Carroll has claimed that Trump raped her around 1995 in a New York department store. Then she said Trump damaged her with his untruthful replies to the accusation.
The jury met for only three hours before delivering the verdict after the eight-day trial. It consisted of three men and six women. They determined that Trump should be liable for sexual assault but not rape and that he intentionally repeated accusations that were not true about Carroll.
Unsurprisingly, Trump Was Enraged
Trump took to his social media platform and raged about the verdict. “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE – A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!”
Trump Decided to Not Appear in Court
Trump also said his legal team will be appealing what he says is a “sham” trial. Trump did not appear at the courtroom at any point during the trial. Trump’s attorneys called no witnesses to testify throughout the proceedings. The former president forcibly denied all of Carroll’s accusations and said she was a liar.
The jurors were told by the judge that it would be better to not speak in public about their deliberations. The judge also warned them not to identify their colleagues on the jury.
What Will The Political Damage Be?
It is difficult to determine how this verdict will hurt Trump politically. He is ahead handily in numerous polls for the GOP presidential nomination race. And he is winning in at least one survey in a match-up with President Joe Biden.
Trump has endured difficulty attracting some single women, especially those in their 20’s and 30’s to vote for him in past elections. He also underperforms with married suburban women. This verdict could convince other female voters to refrain from supporting him in his third campaign for president.
Other Republicans running for president were notably silent or they criticized Trump or disagreed with the motives of the jury. Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas governor who is a White House hopeful, said that Carrol’s accusations were another example of Trump’s “indefensible behavior.”
“Over the course of my over 25 years of experience in the courtroom, I have seen firsthand how a cavalier and arrogant contempt for the rule of law can backfire,” he said. “The jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump.”
Hutchinson has also called for Trump to drop out of the race after being indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records relating to hush money payments to an adult video star.
Is This Another Political Witch Hunt?
Republican Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, a wealthy biotech entrepreneur and author, was less critical and more nuanced in his reaction to the verdict.
“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,” Ramaswamy said.
Evangelical voters, a group that is a historic Republican ally, often support Trump for his beliefs in religious liberty, his views on abortion, and his habit of appointing conservative judges. This coalition of voters has not come forward with any criticism. At this point, Trump should be considered a sinner by all religious denominations. Will faith voters continue to forgive his trespasses like the Bible says or begin to withhold support? This will be an important group going forward and their opinions will matter in states like Iowa and South Carolina. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, a conservative Christian, has not declared his presidential candidacy yet, but he is expected to do so on May 22. Scott may call out Trump for his less than desirable behavior.
Views on Trump are already so divided that the Carroll verdict may not change any minds. Those that already see the former president as a misogynist and sexist have made their feelings known at the ballot box. Others somehow stay with Trump through thick and thin. This is definitely a time when the president needs to seek forgiveness from evangelical voters and cater to their whims. It remains to be seen whether their support will last throughout the campaign as Trump’s legal woes mount.
Author Expertise and Experience
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.