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E. Jean Carroll Case Nears Its End

Since the defense does not intend to put up a case in the lawsuit between E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump, the trial is very nearly over. In fact, yesterday, both sides rested.

Before the testimony came to an end, however, Donald Trump did make an appearance. Not in person, and not in his own defense, mind you. His "appearance" came in the form of footage from the deposition conducted by Carroll's attorney Roberta Kaplan; the jury saw about 45 minutes of video of the former president. The "highlight" ("lowlight"?) came during a segment when Trump was being pressed about other claims of sexual assault against him. He got irritated, insisted he could not have assaulted those women because they are not "his type," and then proceeded to advise Kaplan that "you wouldn't be a choice of mine either, to be honest. I wouldn't in any circumstances have any interest in you."

We are not lawyers, we are not jury consultants, and we were not in the courtroom, so we can't be 100% certain about how this played with the jury. But we just can't imagine any possibility beyond it hurting Trump's case. To start with, the plaintiff's counsel wouldn't have played it if it wasn't bad for Trump. Beyond that, it's an obnoxious thing to say, especially since his willingness to rape Roberta Kaplan (or not) is utterly irrelevant. And finally, the former president is apparently not clever enough to think through the implications of his words, but "I wouldn't rape you because you aren't my type" strongly implies that there are some women he would rape. And given the very real possibility, which we noted earlier this week, that the (alleged) assault of Carroll was driven by rage rather than lust, well, Trump very well may have hanged himself.

The last thing that happened yesterday before the court adjourned for the weekend was an offer made by Judge Lewis Kaplan to the Trump defense team: If they want to reconsider having their client testify, Kaplan is willing to consider it as long as the motion is filed by 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Again, we are not lawyers. But we are certainly familiar enough with court procedure to know that could well be a strong hint from the Judge that the defense should rethink its strategy. Trump's lead counsel, Joe Tacopina, said that he did not plan a change in course. And if we were Trump's counsel, we would have a very hard time even thinking about the possibility of putting our unhinged client on the stand. On the other hand, if the case appears to be lost, that's when it's time for a Hail Mary. So it's at least possible that the defense takes Kaplan up on his offer.

If both sides stick with their current position ("we rest") then the jury is expected to get the case around 10:00 a.m. Monday. That means that by Monday evening or Tuesday, Donald Trump could well be found civilly liable of rape. We've already had this question several times, so we'll just answer it now: "Convicted of rape" means "found guilty of the criminal offense of rape." That will not describe Trump; so media outlets would have to characterize him as someone "found liable of rape" or "judged civilly responsible for a rape." Alternatively, if they want to keep it simple, a person who committed a rape is a "rapist," regardless of the nature of the court case (or even if there's no court case at all). So, the phrase "Donald Trump, rapist" could well be accurate and non-defamatory within the next 100 hours or so. (Z)

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