During the Trump administration, E. Jean Carroll, a journalist with a television show (at the time) called “Ask Jean,” accused Trump of raping her 25 years ago. As president, Trump denied it with the “too ugly to rape” defense, saying “she’s not even my type.” (In a deposition, he mistook her picture back then for his wife, Marla Maples). She sued him for defamation. Meanwhile, New York changed its statute of limitations for sexual assault (in part to provide justice to people who were assaulted as kids), and her defamation suit became a civil suit seeking damages for raping her.
The trial starts tomorrow with jury selection. If there was ever a trial in which one would invest tens – perhaps hundreds, of thousands of dollars on jury experts, this would be the one. They will get the politics out first. There will be red and blue in that jury box, obviously. In New York, a verdict can be rendered if five out of every six jurors agree. In a case this large, it will likely have twelve jurors, so if ten of them are in agreement, they can render the verdict. One or two red-hatted MAGAs that lied through voir dire can’t throw a wrench into the system.
I am planting my flag.
This trial is more important to Trump’s future than the New York criminal indictment (Not more important than Georgia or Jack Smith’s investigation).
Trump can’t blame some D.A., politics, or any of his other typical persecution grievances. This is him against a proud woman. She isn’t doing this for money. She is not doing it to “get back at him.” She is doing this because she believes she was raped. (The jury may not believe her account, but she certainly does). She has been through a living hell to bring this case, simply wanting accountability.
The parties must have agreed to allow Trump to testify by deposition video only because even though the issue is rape, this is a civil case. Carroll’s lawyers could call Trump as the first witness. Both parties have their reasons, obviously. In fact, as things stand, I don’t believe that Trump is even showing up to the trial. He is scheduled to be in New Hampshire.
But given all the criminal issues surrounding Trump, whether it’s espionage, or racketeering (Georgia possibility), I think that people haven’t really absorbed the power that a civic jury verdict would have. A jury could find it more likely than not that Trump raped a woman.
That has to be a re-set and I am not sure that the nation is really aware of it. If Trump wins – because it’s hard to beat a 50-50 “He said, she said,” then you can bet he’ll “trumpet” the victory. But how long can that possibly last with all the other criminal issues hanging around? Yet, a finding that he raped her would linger even through the criminal allegations.
This case matters. Not as much as Georgia, not as much as everything Jack Smith is investigating, but it matters more than anything else happening in New York.
[email protected], @JasonMiciak, Substack: “I am going to cover the same subject in more depth.”