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Flashback: The rape case that started at a Resistance party


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The Washington Examiner

Byron York, Chief Political Correspondent
May 09, 2023

FLASHBACK: THE RAPE CASE THAT STARTED AT A RESISTANCE PARTY. The lawsuit accusing former President Donald Trump of rape, Carroll v. Trump, goes to the jury Tuesday. Maybe the decision will be quick, and maybe it won't. In any event, it is important to remember that the accuser, former Elle writer E. Jean Carroll, does not have to prove that anything happened about 27 years ago, when she said Trump attacked her in the dressing room of a tony New York department store. All Carroll has to do is convince the New York-area jury that the assault more likely than not happened. It's a far lower standard than a criminal charge of rape. And even that charge, in a lawsuit, could not have been brought without New York's one-time-only #MeToo law, allowing people who said they were victimized many years ago but never brought charges to take action against the person they say attacked them. If you haven't been following Carroll v. Trump, it is, given that it involves Trump, a highly politicized affair. Here, from last month, is the background of the case, including some things the judge in the trial made sure the jury was not told about.

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Although she says she told two friends about it at the time, the writer Lisa Birnbach and the New York television newswoman Carol Martin, Carroll did not report the alleged crime to any authorities. She did not tell anyone else. Years passed. The statute of limitations for a rape charge came and went. Even when, 20 years later, Trump ran for president and other women accused him of sexual misconduct, Carroll remained silent.

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Carroll has said she broke the news in a book because she did not want to tell the police or an elected official or a journalist what had happened. Perhaps that is the case. It is also true that writing a book, unlike going to the police, was a way to make money while making news. And in this case, it was a book with a spectacular allegation. In any event, the rape that allegedly happened in 1995 or 1996 did not become public until 2019, when New York ran an excerpt of Carroll's new book.

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That is where things stood when Carroll, by then a darling of the anti-Trump Resistance, attended a party at the Manhattan home of another Resistance figure, the writer Molly Jong-Fast. The party was in honor of yet another Resistance figure, the comedian Kathy Griffin. Among those in attendance was still another Resistance figure, the lawyer George Conway. The gathering was, in the words of a New York Times account, "Resistance Twitter come to life."

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So now the trial begins. The anti-Trump world is again filled with hope that Trump will be held accountable, to use their favorite phrase. But just as in the case of Trump's indictment, also in Manhattan, the Carroll lawsuit is not a very good test. For one thing, the alleged rape took place a long time ago; Carroll cannot even remember the year. There are reasons we have statutes of limitations. As years, and then decades, go by, evidence disappears, memories fade, witnesses die. At this point, it is simply not possible to prove in any real sense that Donald Trump raped E. Jean Carroll in 1995 or 1996. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but it's too late to know now.

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Trump Loses Sexual Assault Case

John Hinderaker

May 9 2023

The New York jury, after deliberating only briefly, has awarded Jean Carroll $5 million in her sexual assault/defamation case against Donald Trump. CNBC describes the verdict:

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I haven’t actually seen the verdict form, but it is not obvious why the jury would believe Carroll as to Trump’s “abusing and forcibly touching” her, but disbelieve her claim that he raped her. Perhaps the latter was simply a bridge too far in a crowded department store.

Carroll’s entire 27-year-old story was implausible, in my opinion. But a verdict in her favor was almost a foregone conclusion, given that Trump did not appear to testify on his own behalf. His deposition was taken during the case’s discovery phase, and some or all of it was played for the jury. I can only assume that Trump expected he would lose whether he testified or not, so he was better served, politically, to shun the proceeding and implicitly decline to accept its authority.

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