Trump bid to toss E Jean Carroll ruling backfires as judge says ex-president did ‘rape’ columnist

Ex-president was found legally liable for sexual abuse, but not rape under legal definition

John Bowden
Washington DC
Thursday 20 July 2023 18:32 EDT
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The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s sexual abuse case brought by columnist E Jean Carroll has denied his bid to toss the jury’s verdict, and let the air out of his legal team’s argument.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled this week that a jury’s award of $2m to Ms Carroll over its finding that Mr Trump had indeed sexually abused her was not excessive, given that while the actions alleged by his accuser did not fit the legal definition of rape, they certainly fit the colloquial meaning of the word.

The jury’s finding, he wrote, does “not mean that that she failed to prove that Mr Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word rape.”

“Indeed, as the evidence recounted below makes clear, the jury found Mr Trump in fact did exactly that,” he continued.

It was a remark that, while likely far from being the last word in the appeals process, severely undermined the argument from Mr Trump’s circle in the wake of the jury’s decision that the outcome had been anything but a serious defeat for the former president.

Ms Carroll has long alleged that Mr Trump forcibly penetrated her during an encounter at a department store in New York in the 1990s. Mr Trump has long denied the claim, but was unable to convince a jury of his innocence after his accuser brought a civil suit against him under a New York law allowing survivors of sexual abuse to go after their abusers long after the criminal statute of limitations has expired.

It’s also just one of many court cases in which the former president is now involved.

Mr Trump remains under two criminal indictments in New York and at the federal level, and on Monday announced that he has received a target letter from the DoJ indicating that more criminal charges are likely coming down the pipes as a result of the agency’s long-running investigation into the January 6 attack on Congress and Mr Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.

He also faces a separate case in Georgia, where authorities are weighing whether to bring charges against Mr Trump and members of his inner circle for possible violations of state law resulting from that same campaign to change the election results.

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