Saturday, September 30, 2023
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor
Thoughts on the E. Jean Carroll courtroom victory over Donald J. Trump

May 19, 2023 --

New York Times columnist David French wrote an opinion piece on the May 11 editorial page with this title "Trump's Jury Verdict Implicates the Nations's Moral Core."

(The online title, "A Guilty ex-President" implicates the paper's ferocious hostilty for Mr. Trump who, having completed his term, is a former president, not an ex-president, as was Richard M. Nixon, who resigned his presidency in 1974. This is not to gainsay that The New York Times devoutly wished it could refer to Mr. Trump as an "ex" during his presidential term, and will work, night and day, to turn him into an "ex" should he be re'elected eighteen months' hence.)

In the first part of the column, French acknowledged that the jury did not find for Ms. Carroll her charge that Mr. Trump raped her some 27 or 28 years ago in a fitting room at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan, Near the end of his column, French raised two questions:

"But would a jury so hopelessly biased against Trump reject Carroll's rape claim? Or is that that an indication that the jury actually weighed the evidence supporting each charge?" [Emphasis in original.]

What evidence? There was no physical evidence introduced. Except for the plaintiff, there was no eyewitness testimony. The apparent evidence provided by Carroll's testifiers simply bolstered her testimony by hearsay or alleged personal projection. Plus one highly prejudicial video, evidence like this threatens to reduce the burden of proof in civil lawsuits to guilty upon allegations by the plaintiff.

Here is a thought as to what the jury's verdict was all about. From the penumbras and emanations raised from record, an encounter between the parties did take place, but was consensual. Hence the dismissal of the rape charge. The rest of the verdict amounted to political enhancement of Carroll's claim more than two decades after the occurence.

If there were an encounter that did not constitute rape, Carroll effectively falsely accused Mr. Trump, who falsely denied he ever met her. Here is where the political enhancement comes in. A Manhattan jury, even protected by anonymity, could not let a Donald J. Trump intent on re-election as president, get off scot-free. Why what would The New York Times have to say?

If the jury found, in effect, that both parties lied about their encounter, how could they award damages for defamation to the plaintiff-fibber as against the defendant- fibber? And so we have an addition to the "actual malice" standard: a plaintiff can recover damages for defamation as against a defendant who denies the plaintiff's false claim. Such a result could only happen where "justice" becomes political, with no opposition from the trial judge.