In New York – also the site of Trump’s recent indictment in a separate criminal case – a jury unanimously agreed that Trump was liable for sexual abuse and battery, and that he had also defamed Carroll. Importantly, the jury stopped short of finding Trump had raped her. Nevertheless, it did recommend she be awarded US$5 million in damages – US$2 million for the abuse, and US$3 million for defamation.
TRUMP WILL FIGHT BACK
Predictably, Trump has responded with all-caps fury on his struggling social media platform, Truth Social. The former president claims this verdict is yet another part of a wide-ranging conspiracy against him, and that he will, of course, fight it.
There’s no doubt he will, or that he will almost certainly use his tried-and-true tactics of delaying cases and threatening countersuits. Because it is Trump, this case will no doubt be folded in under the tent of the circus we have become so inured to since he first rode down the golden escalator in 2015.
Even then, as he announced his campaign for the presidency nearly a decade ago, Trump cavalierly spoke about sexual abuse, making the racist and false claim that Mexico was sending drugs, criminals and rapists to the United States.
The incredulity that greeted that claim, and later, the recording of Trump saying that he could “grab ‘em by the p****” whenever he wanted, still lingers. How could such a man be elected president of the most powerful country in the world? Today, the question isn’t all that different – could he do it again?
It is certainly possible that the second time around, the accusations of abuse and criminal misconduct – and now the finding of a jury in New York that Trump is liable for at least some of it – will hurt him politically. There is a creeping sense that the multitude of criminal and civil cases the former president is facing, and has managed to hold off for most of his life, are finally closing in; that a pincer movement of state, federal and civil suits might finally signal the end of his political career.