When you look at the E Jean Carroll civil rape and defamation lawsuit against His Lowness, it couldn’t be much simpler. It all comes down to one simple thing, and that thing is E Jean Carroll’s believability in front of the jury.
This is a classic He said, She said case, and the only thing approaching a fact witness is E Jean Carroll herself. There will be two witnesses who will testify that Carroll told them about it in the immediate aftermath. Those two just shore up her story. And two more women will claim similar sexual predatory behavior against Trump. That just shows a possible Trump proclivity for that kind of behavior. And they’ll play the Access Hollywood video. That proves that Traitor Tot is a vile creature that likes to boast about predatory sexual assault against women.
If the jury believes Carroll, it’s over. After all, it’s not like Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina has any kind of rebuttal defense to offer. Emperor Numbus Nuttus sure as hell ain’t taking the stand. He has no hostile witnesses to call to rebut Carroll’s account. He doesn’t even have any scientific evidence he can offer, since after Trump spent three years refusing to provide a DNA sample, the judge cut Tacopina off at the knees even questioning Carroll about it, or arguing it himself. It all comes down to E Jean Carroll.
And Joe Tacopina is a back alley thug, which is why Trump hired him. I think of him a a courtroom Jim Jordan, a bombastic, bomb throwing buffoon whose only strategy is scorched earth at the defendant. Which is why Trump picked him, he wants Tacopina to savage Carroll on the stand, and that’s all Tacopina knows how to do.
And from where I’m sitting, from the reporting I’ve seen from court, right now Carroll is eating Tacopina’s lunch. In her direct testimony, she riveted the jury to the point that they didn’t even look over at her lawyer when he asked a question, their eyes stayed on her. And as I wrote previously, that normally means that a jury has connected with the witness, he or she has their total attention.
But on cross examination, she’s just as strong. Carroll has steadfastly refused the satisfaction of letting Tacopina reduce her to tears. Better yet, she is strong enough to turn his own arguments against him.
Two examples will suffice. Tacopina asked Carroll why she didn’t scream if Trump was assaulting her in the dressing room. She coolly told him, I don’t scream. Some women scream under extreme stress, and some don’t. I don’t. But whether I screamed in the dressing room or not doesn’t change the fact that Trump raped me. Stand up and take a bow fool. Carroll just raped you over the witness box guardrail.
In trying to show it never happened, Tacopina asked Carroll why she didn’t report the rape at the time it occurred? Carroll stared him down and calmly replied, Why didn’t I report it then? Your current line of questioning is exactly why I didn’t report it. I would have gone through the same victim shaming from the police and prosecutor that you’re putting me through right now. Question, Joe. Do you enjoy getting stretched out over that witness box railing?
What Tacopina is doing is legal malpractice. As I wrote previously, in the era of the me too movement, criminal defense attorneys are suddenly finding that juries are willing to believe abused women over the words of privileged powerful men like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. Especially after their lawyers tear into the victim with hours of victim shaming on the stand in cross examination.
But what makes it egregious legal malpractice is the fact that Tacopina doesn’t have to do it! Right now Trump has a perfectly qualified, respected criminal attorney by the name of Alina Habba sitting at the defense table. Why wouldn’t he use her against the most powerful witness the plaintiffs have?
A female lawyer can ask probing and aggressive questions of a rape victim in a personal way no male attorney could. And whatever she does or doesn’t accomplish, at least she does it without leaving the jury with the impression of a Mountain Troll like Tacopina spending hours whacking at her with a club.
The standing theory for Tacopina doing a Freddie Krueger on Carroll is that he is the lead attorney. And since he is going to argue the case to the jury, he would be more comfortable arguing his own words on cross to the jury, rather than interpret what another lawyer said. I have a slightly different take. Tacopina is an arrogant, sexist thug who relishes the pleasure of verbally beating up on a female victim to show how macho he is. I just don’t get how this helps him with the jury, especially if they’ve shown sympathy for Carroll.
If you’re going to cross examine a rape victim, you need a laser scalpel, not a chainsaw. You need to ask probing questions, and if the answer seems off, draw logical inferences to the contrast to what a normal woman would do. Letting a thug like Tacopina hammer away at Carroll on the witness stand just makes it look to a sympathetic jury that she’s getting raped all over again in the witness box.
And here’s why it kills Tacopina in court. Trump isn’t going to show up in court, he’ll be in Scotland, enjoying his last few rounds of international golf as a free man for a while. But that doesn’t stop Carroll’s attorney from playing clips of Trump’s eight hour deposition, both to buttress his own client’s statements, but to draw attention to inconsistencies in Trump’s deposition testimony. And there’s no way for Tacopina to cross examine a deposition DVD.
From where I’m sitting, there’s only one reason that Trump hired Tacopina to lead this case. He specifically wanted his legal doppelganger to publicly lay her soul to waste to punish her for daring to accuse him of anything. Forget the fact that this might have been the worst legal strategy possible, Trump’s ego and his d*ck are doing the talking. And now that arrogance may not just cost him tens of millions of dollars, it might just brand him as a rapist for the rest of his misbegotten life. God, I love karma.