A jury in Manhattan found the former American president Donald Trump responsible for sexual abuse and defamation of the American writer E. Jean Carroll. The jury granted the writer five million dollars in damages, a figure that probably will not have a great effect on the former president’s finances but that will certainly affect, although in unknown measure, the chances of Donald Trump to present himself as a candidate in the United States next presidential elections of the United States.
Until today, it seemed inconceivable that Trump would be found guilty of the numerous transgressions and corruptions of all kinds that have marked not only his political career but his whole life. However, the courage of a brave woman managed to unmask one of the most influential politicians in the country.
The federal jury composed of six men and three women found that Trump defamed Mrs. Carroll when he wrote on his website last October that her case was a fraud and a lie. However, the jury ignored Trump’s defamatory characterization of Mrs. Carroll and accepted the numerous evidences presented against him not only by Mrs. Carroll but also by other witnesses and Trump’s numerous public statements.
In one of those statements for the “Access Hollywood” program, Trump said a famous man could, with total impunity, kiss a woman and take her by the genitals without her resisting. This program was made public during the 2016 presidential campaign and, despite the brutality of Trump’s statements, it did not affect his chances of winning the election. However, these statements were crucial for Mrs. Carroll’s lawyers to present an effective case before the jurors.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan gave precise instructions to the jury members: to establish that Trump violated Mrs. Carroll in the dressing room of a fashion store, she had to prove that she had a sexual relationship that included Trump’s penis penetration in her vagina and that he did it without her consent. In the absence of such evidence, the jury ruled that Mrs. Carroll could not prove that Trump violated her, but he did abuse her sexually, an argument that implies a much lower penalty. It did not help the defense of the former president that he refused to declare or even have a physical presence during the trial.
Trump used his social media platform to say: “I have no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a real disgrace: it is a continuation of the biggest witch hunt of all time. ”
This are not the end of the problems that the former president must confront. Despite those problems, he still leads the surveys for the presidential nomination for the Republican Party. He still has to respond to 34 criminal charges for falsifying the commercial records of payments to Stormy Daniels, the porn film star with whom Trump had an affair, to buy her silence during the 2016 elections.
Trump is also investigated by a Federal Special Advisor for having Secret Government Documents at his home in Florida, against strict federal laws in this regard. In addition, and this is much more serious, Trump faces serious criminal charges for repeated attempts to revoke the 2020 elections in Georgia and for their incitement to the attack on the United States Capitol in which several people died during the rampage.
These are not the best moments for the former American president. They show that justice in the United States still works well, and that no one is exempt from its reach. For Trump, it could be the beginning of the end of his political career.
César Chelala is an award-winning writer on human rights and political issues.