Former President Donald Trump has been investigated in many lawsuits and faced several criminal investigations, from falsifying business records to attempting to interfere in the presidential election.
Recently the jury ordered the former President to pay $5 million in damages to E. Jean Carroll.
Donald Trump And E. Jean Carroll Controversy Explained
Donald Trump and E. Jean Carroll have been involved in controversy since 2019, when the latter blamed the former President for sexually abusing and defaming her. Though Trump denied the allegations, their battle reached the court after Carroll filed the lawsuit against Trump.
E. Jean Carroll, the American journalist, and author by profession, sued the politician and businessman Donald Trump in November 2019.
The journalist had filed two lawsuits with the New York Supreme Court, one for assaulting her and a second, a defamation lawsuit when she voiced the incident, the trial for which took place in April 2023.
The court summoned its verdict in May 2023, finding Trump responsible for sexually abusing and defaming Carroll. The judge ordered Trump to pay $5 million in damages to E. Jean Carroll.
Background of the Controversy
On June 21, 2019, E. Jean Carroll published a report stating that Trump had sexually assaulted her in mid-1995 at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City. She published the additional details of the alleged incident in her 2019 book, “What do we need Men for? A modest proposal.”
Caroll said that Trump asked her for help buying a gift for a lady while she was out in a store. The two moved into a dressing room together, the door of which was shut. Caroll said that Trump forced himself on her in the locked dressing room and raped her before she could escape. She said that the incident lasted less than three minutes.
Denying the allegations, Trump claimed that he had never met Carroll. The journalist provided the media with a photograph of her with Trump captured in 1987. However, Trump dismissed the photograph.
In November 2019, Carroll filed a defamation suit with the New York Supreme Court against Trump. She asserted, “Decades ago, the now President of the US raped me. When I gathered the courage to speak out about the incident, he defamed my character, accused me of lying for personal benefit, and even insulted my appearance.”
After the case was reported, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defined the suit as “frivolous” and declared Caroll’s incident was fake.
In his official statement, Trump denied knowing and meeting Carroll. He accused her of trying to sell her book and pointed out that she had a political agenda to defame him. He even compared the indictment to one against Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh and said there is no surveillance footage of the alleged incident.
In one of his interviews after the lawsuit, Trump said that Carroll was “totally lying” and “she is not my type.” He said that she was conspiring against him with the Democratic Party.
On May 22, 2023, Caroll demanded to amend her original lawsuit to include additional statements which Trump made on news channels and his social media platform Truth Social after the judgment against him that month.
Carroll seeks an additional $10 million in damages after Trump’s negative remarks involving her on his social platform. Trump is reported to admit that he had met Carroll as captured by the 1987 photograph (which he previously denied to be him in the image).
Carroll’s lawsuit against the former President is civil, meaning Trump would have to pay the damages if the court finds her allegations true. But it does not put him at risk of imprisonment.
Does Carroll’s case affect the Trump nomination for the presidential race in 2024?
Caroll has raised two issues in the suit, including the claim of battery for psychological damages she has undergone because of Trump’s alleged sexual assault and a claim of defamation due to his comments about her manufacturing the allegation. At the same time, Trump’s counsel has argued that Carroll has raised these allegations for political reasons and personal fame. They have also questioned why she does not recollect the exact date and time of the incident that she wishes she remembered.
Carroll’s win, in this case, could send a powerful message about Trump’s history of alleged sexual assault and underlines the importance of a New York law that allows assault survivors to reach the court and seek justice years after an incident occurred.
Regarding the lawsuit, Laura Beth Nielsen, an educator and director at Northwestern University asserted that it is important for the target of sexual violence to know that, no matter how powerful the person is, no matter how long ago the incident happened, the courts will assess serious claims.
As Trump prepares and campaigns for the 2024 presidential election, the Carroll lawsuit can be regarded as another test of his capacity to survive embarrassments that would otherwise affect any individual.
Republicans are divided over whether Trump’s 2024 reelection nomination could be hurt following a verdict in the Carroll case. Some Republicans indicated the judgment as a reason to move on from Trump, while some of his 2024 Republican opponents had mixed reactions.
Some political observers say that the people have already formed opinions of the former President, and claims about Trump abusing women are not new.
A University of Notre Dame professor, Christina Wolbrecht, said, “At this point, the Americans have a pretty good sense of Trump’s character, and so it is unlikely that the Carroll case will change many voters’ minds.”
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