This won’t take long, I promise. Besides, I’m in the middle of working on another article. But I just heard something on MSNBC that locked and loaded me.
On The Last Word, with Ali Velshi in for Lawrence O’Donnell, Velshi had the transcript of the day’s activity in the Carroll trial, which included her testimony. The testimony was tragically graphic, and portrayed what started out as a playful encounter gone tragically wring.
But then came the part where the record caught me by the throat. Carroll’s testimony was blunt but eloquent. She answered questions directly, describing the assault in minute detail. And at one point her lawyer asked, And what did you do then?, to which Carroll replied, What could I do? He was so big. I finally managed to get my knee up and into him, and finally push him back from me.
And then came the part that snapped me out of my article. Velshi stated that according to a reporter in the courtroom,
At that point, the jury stopped looking back and forth from the attorney and the witness, and locked onto Carroll with a laser focus
That hit me, hard. As you all know, I’ve been on two juries for civil trials, and there’s a flow to it. Jurors are strange, we have no actual active part in the trial. Our only two duties are to watch and listen, and take notes when we think something important has been said or shown. And so being a juror is kind of like watching a tennis match, you tend to look back and forth between the lawyer and the witness, depending on who’s speaking. That’s just human nature.
But when you get a reporter who says that a particular point the jury locked their attention exclusively on the witness? Trump is in deep sh*t. Jurors watch the speaking lawyers to measure their sincerity and demeanor by their body language. But when a jury focuses monolithically on the witness, what that tells me is that the witness has won the jury over. They’re hanging on every word he or she says, and that means that they’re sympathetic.
Which is going to be a real problem for Trump’s thug lawyer. As I wrote previously, I fully expect Trump’s lawyer to go all in on victim shaming, and hammer on her relentlessly. And if the jury already has sympathetic feelings for the witness, they’re not going to take kindly to a lawyer attacking her with a claw hammer. And that’s all Trump’s lawyer knows how to do.
I hope we get more courtroom transcript testimony and media observations from court tomorrow. Because when you break this case down to it’s basest level, it’s a classic He said, She said scenario. But because it’s a civil trial, beyond a reasonable doubt is not the issue. If those nine jurors decide that it is 51% probable that Trump did what Carroll says he did? Then he’s branded as a rapist. It sounds like she’s off to a flying start. Don’t touch that dial.