The civil suit against Donald Trump filed by writer E Jean Carroll dates back to 2019 when she accused him of sexually assaulting and raping her in the mid-1990s.
Trump denied the allegations and accused Carroll of lying to sell her book. The suit continued, with the Department of Justice seeking to intervene in 2020, arguing that Trump’s comments were made within the scope of his employment as president. However, the judge rejected the argument.
The jury’s verdict was announced on Tuesday, finding Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming Carroll. Her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, expressed her satisfaction with the decision, stating that it demonstrated that “nobody is above the law.”
The jury also found that Trump’s comments about Carroll were not within the scope of his employment as president, and therefore, he cannot be protected by the Department of Justice.
Many Republicans rallied around Trump, with Senator Bill Hagerty dismissing the case as a “legal circus” that would have no impact on the American public.
Kevin McCarthy, when questioned about his support for Trump, claimed he did not know the details because he had been in a meeting.
Former Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump, stressing that he had never witnessed such behaviour during his time serving alongside him.
On the other hand, a few Republicans used the verdict to criticise Trump. Senator Mitt Romney expressed his hope that “the jury of American people reach the same conclusion about Donald Trump.”
Republican presidential nominee candidate and former Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson called the verdict “unbecoming” of someone who aspires to be president and stressed the importance of not undermining the rule of law.
The verdict comes at a critical time for Trump, who is considering running for president again in 2024.
The outcome of the appeal and the implications of this verdict on his political future remain to be seen. However, one thing is clear: the jury’s decision serves as a reminder that no one is above the law, regardless of their position or influence.