Last week should have been an epic week for Donald Trump; however, the verdict in the E. Jean Carroll defamation suit was announced.
The jury awarded Carroll an $83 million judgment, taking some of the shine off Trump’s big win in New Hampshire.
- The case
- The judgment
The suit against Trump was, for all intents and purposes, over before Trump ever walked into the courtroom. Trump had already lost an earlier suit against Carroll, and facing off against a New York jury and a hostile judge, we knew this trial would not go well for Trump.
Trump was being sued for defamation by author E. Jean Carroll, who claimed she had been sexually assaulted by Trump in the dressing room of a department store more than three decades ago. Since the suit was announced, Trump has been hurling every insult possible at Carroll, her attorneys, and the court. When Trump lost the first suit, he again went after Carroll on Truth Social, leading to yet another suit, which he just lost.
The jury took no time to deliver its verdict, awarding Carroll a total of $83.3 million, including $65 million in punitive damages, $11 million for reputation repair, and $7.3 million in other compensatory damages.
Trump has already called the ruling “ridiculous” and announced that he will appeal the decision. Trump posted on Truth Social:
“Absolutely ridiculous! I fully disagree with both verdicts, and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party. Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon.
“They have taken away all First Amendment Rights. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!”
Trump can often be his own worst enemy, and that is surely the case in this lawsuit. I absolutely understand Trump’s need to tell his side of the story, and he is entitled to do that, but he has to lay off the rhetoric and stick to the facts, or he is only going to make matters worse, as he did here.
The other aspect of this is that Trump cannot afford these problems right now. Now he is on the hook for almost $100 million to Carroll, and he stands to lose another $370 million in the New York fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Not only are his campaign funds being pillaged by legal feels, but now his personal wealth is also taking a massive hit in these judgments.
Finally, the last thing that Trump needs is another case that will drag out into the general election, as an appeal in this case may do. Trump’s legal calendar is already filled with four federal cases, and now he can add these civil appeals to the stack.
Last but not least, there are the optics in all of this. Every time he loses a case, he gives Democrats more ammunition to use against him, and there is nothing he can do about that. However, when he goes on these unhinged rants, the media and Dems are waiting to pounce to use his language as a talking point to show him being unfit for office. The best thing Trump can do regarding these cases is to leave his phone on the table and stop going off on Truth Social.