In the past couple of years, it’s been almost impossible to keep up with the many court cases and allegations against the former President of the United States, Donald Trump. He is facing different lawsuits on both criminal and civil fronts and so far, with every investigation comes a fresh discovery and a new layer uncovered.
Some of these include a federal investigation into his efforts to reverse his defeat at the polls in 2020, involvement in the attack on the Capitol by his supporters on 6 January 2021, falsifying business records in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels just before 2016 election and E. Jean Carroll’s rape and defamation suit in Manhattan.
The Manhattan case which has taken a front-row seat in the media this past few weeks is the case of rape and defamation brought forward by writer E Jean Carroll against Mr Trump. An incident she alleged happened in the Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1996. She wrote about this in a book and Mr Trump denied the rape saying “She’s not my type” and accused her of trying to sell her book. This led to the first defamation suit in 2019 as Trump continued the accusations on his social media platform.
This has been the longest criminal inquiry Mr Trump has faced and the first to go to trial making it the first time a former American president has been indicted for criminal charges. Prior to this, Mr Trump had vehemently denied all allegations of sexual misconduct before, during and after his presidency.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has decided that an anonymous jury will hear the case because of the risk of violent attacks and attempts to sway the jury’s decisions by supporters of Mr Trump. A decision that must have been based on the fact that Trump supporters have been notoriously identified to be violent.
Despite the fact that this is a civil case, meaning even if the jury rules in favour of Carroll Mr Trump would not be considered a rapist under the law, this would still go down in history as a momentous case, especially in a time where we have seen powerful men come out unscathed following allegations of sexual misconducts.
Women in the US and worldwide are watching closely with the hopes that the trial’s outcome will not be like many others that have been brought forward in the past, where survivors are punished for even speaking up.