Donald Trump was back in court on Tuesday, this time for jury selection in a trial that will determine what additional damages the former president owes E. Jean Carroll after repeatedly attacking her despite being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation against the author last year.
Despite already being on the hook for $5 million in damages — and facing steep additional penalties for his continued public attacks against her — Trump spent the morning after his Iowa caucus win unleashing a social media tirade against the columnist he allegedly raped in the 1990s. “Can you believe I have to defend myself against this woman’s fake story,” the former president wrote on Truth Social, posting a barrage of quotes and articles maligning Carroll and describing her as a woman seeking “fame, fortune, and publicity for her ridiculous Book!”
The former president’s account fired off more than 30 Truth Social posts referencing Carroll, including while he was reportedly phone-less in court.
Trump was found liable for defamation and battery against Carroll in May of last year, in a civil case that litigated Carroll’s claims that the former president had sexually assaulted in a department store. In September, Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over Carroll’s ongoing defamation lawsuit, issued a partial summary judgment in Carroll’s favor ruling that Trump was once again liable for defamation, and this month’s trial will deal strictly with what additional damages are owed to Carroll.
Kaplan has already sought to curtail Trump’s ability to publicly attack Carroll, writing earlier this month that the former president is precluded from “contending in this trial that Ms. Carroll fabricated her charge against him,” as well as from introducing “any evidence or argument concerning Mr. Trump’s sexual assault of Ms. Carroll, undermining Ms. Carroll’s account, or tending to suggest that the assault did not occur.”
The Judge’s in-court orders did not, however, stop Trump from relentlessly attacking Carroll on social media. In his digital ravings Trump accused Carroll of changing her story, attempting to legally extort him, and of being controlled by her “Lunatic Radical Left Democrat operative attorney,” Roberta Kaplan (no relation to Judge Kaplan).
The flood of “Truths” was packed with repeat statements and copies of past posts written by Trump in his previous rages against Carroll, as well as quotes lifted from articles discussing the case or interviewing Carroll. Many were simply screenshots from Carroll’s social media which contained references to sex or her past — consensual — sex life.
Trump also directly attacked Judge Kaplan throughout his rantings, writing that the judge harbors an “absolute hatred of Donald J. Trump (ME!),” and demanding that he end the trial outright.
Carroll could seek to fold Trump’s repeated attacks into her petition for even more damages — especially given that Tuesday was not the first time Trump has publicly maligned her despite having already been found liable for defamation.
In June, Carroll was allowed to amend her current lawsuit to include $10 million in additional damages after Trump attacked her during a chaotic CNN town hall the day after being found liable in his first trial. Earlier this month, after a court rejected a last-ditch bid to delay the current trial, Trump unloaded on the columnist in a similar social media tirade.
Last week, while speaking to reporters during a separate civil fraud lawsuit in New York, Trump claimed he has “no idea who this woman is,” and called the case “ridiculous.”
Trump delivers another rant about E. Jean Carroll that may be cited in a future lawsuit pic.twitter.com/SqzgV4xubt
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 11, 2024
While Carroll’s successful litigation against Trump represents a victory for victims of sexual violence looking for accountability and restitution from their abusers, her case — as well as the myriad of other lawsuits swirling around the former president — have done little to dent his popularity with Republican voters.
Trump dominated the Iowa caucus on Monday night, signaling the inevitability of his nomination for the 2024 Republican ticket. Despite claiming a sincere wish to defeat the former president in the race for the candidacy, even his GOP rivals can’t bring themselves to condemn his treatment of Carroll. On Tuesday morning, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who placed third in Iowa, was asked by CNN’s Dana Bashhow he felt about the GOP “frontrunner being found liable for sexual abuse.”
Haley claimed that she hadn’t “paid attention to his cases,” and that Trump should be considered “innocent until proven guilty.”
“If he’s found guilty he needs to pay the price,” Haley added.
Trump will certainly be paying a hefty monetary price for his continued defamation of Carroll, but politically it seems this case hasn’t cost him any goodwill amongst his fellow Republicans, or conservative voters.
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