The Strangest Case of E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump

The Crazy Story
Behind the Disturbing News
By: Victor Davis Hanson

Part Five – February 2, 2024
The Strangest Case of E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump

80-year-old E. Jean Carroll, a former relationship- and sex-advice columnist, just won a huge $83.3 million settlement from Donald Trump in connection with a previous finding that she was “defamed” by Donald Trump.

New York is not a hospitable place for any conservative politician or celebrity, much less one ex-president Donald Trump—as we have seen from prosecutors Alvin Bragg and Letitia James, who both promised voters that they would get Trump if just elected.

But here are some strange facts about the case—with the proviso we have no idea of what exactly happened when both Carroll and Trump consensually and strangely entered into ribald banter in a department store’s lingerie section, then mutually and apparently willfully entered a dressing room, at which point their stories radically diverge (as opposed to somewhat diverged, since Trump at various times said he didn’t recall meeting her at all).

Trump appeared raucously in person in court to turn the civil suit into a referendum on the supposedly coordinated leftwing efforts to damage his presidential candidacy. But he was fighting with a Bill Clinton-appointed judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, and with a New York liberal jury pool, in a suit concerning his denials of a sexual assault of Carroll some 30 years ago. She won an earlier ruling that his mea culpa was excessive and entered the realm of character assassination and therefore was suing for defamation damages.

Judge Kaplan certainly grew tired of Trump’s editorialization and like most New York jurists probably did not enjoy Trump in his courtroom in the first place. And although a jury earlier did not find Trump guilty of “rape,” Kaplan de facto has stated that it was OK to claim publicly that Trump was nevertheless guilty of rape. Or as the judge put it, “The finding that Ms. Carroll failed to prove that she was ‘raped’ within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape.’”

But if that’s true, Judge Kaplan, why didn’t the jury, on the judge’s prior own instructions, simply convict Trump of rape, which it certainly had the power to do? How can someone not guilty of the definition of rape be guilty of rape?

Carroll could never decide what year the “assault” took place, only sometime in the 1994,1995, or 1996 three-year time frame. That and dozens of other inconsistencies in her narrative prompted the Christine Blasey Ford sort of question of how would one remember such minute details of an alleged violent encounter but not even the year in which it took place. For well over 20 years, she did not write about the alleged attack, much less accuse Trump of sexual assault—at least until he became a controversial rightwing presidential candidate in 2015–16.

There were no witnesses to the alleged assault. Still, Carroll drew her complaint from earlier material she had published in a 2019 book, What Do We Need Men For? and has variously characterized the alleged assault not as rape but a “fight.” If one claims one is damaged in the public square from the attention fueled by outrageous denials by Donald Trump to charges that nearly 30 years ago he assaulted a woman, why would one, for the first time in three decades and during the Trump presidency, write a widely covered and publicized article accusing the then president of the United States of an alleged rape? Would not that be designed to gain publicity, and much of it given the chronological lapses, bad publicity?

Carroll claimed she was defamed and ruined by Trump’s vehement denials of her charges of rape. But her employer at ELLE magazine denied her spat with Trump had anything to do with the decision to fire her at 76 (how many fashion/boyfriend/sex/ dating columnists are still writing in their late seventies?).

Part Six – February 6, 2024
The Strangest Case of E. Jean Carroll and Donald Trump (continued)

As for Carroll’s suits, there were originally no criminal or civil charges filed because the statute of limitations had long since expired. But that changed in 2022 when a new law (“The Adult Survivors Act”) was passed in the New York legislature.

The law created a one-year window (beginning six months from the signing of the bill) that allowed survivors of long-ago alleged sexual assaults to sue the accused perpetrator, regardless of the statute of limitations. That opening suddenly gave Carroll’s prior unsuccessful efforts an entirely new life and she quickly refiled.

But the origin of the legislation is a bit strange: the legislator who introduced the bill, Brad Hoylman-Sigal, was a known Trump antagonist. More interesting, he had earlier introduced and passed another Trump-targeted bill. His so-called TRUST Act had empowered particular federal Congressional committees to have access to the New York State closed tax returns of high-ranking government officials. That bill’s subtext was that suddenly members of Congress could review Donald Trump’s tax returns.

In sum, while these new laws were perhaps not quite bills of attainder or ex-post-facto laws explicitly forbidden by the Constitution’s Article 1, sections 9 and 10, Hoylman-Sigal successfully got them passed with a view of targeting Trump for long past behavior, in a manner that would have been difficult if not impossible without such new legislation.

Translated, if you think something Donald Trump did in the past was wrong or illegal but there is no legal remedy to address it, then we now in America simply pass a new law that allows one to prosecute someone that before the law was not actionable.

Do you see where we are going? When we wish to go after our political enemies and there is no current law to prosecute them, we pass a new one and claim it applies to something they did in the distant past.

Only Carroll and Trump know exactly if both of them really did go from the lingerie section to a dressing room, or why, if they did sequester themselves, what exactly transpired, other than a He said–She said something or other. But there are doubts given past contradictory statements of Carroll, assertions that she remembers the dress type she wore (though it was not in existence at the time of the alleged crime), and her raucous and flamboyant journalistic career (hunting down ex-boyfriends and then moving in with them and their wives for a spell, listing all of Trump’s prior sexual encounters, etc.).

In 2015, Carroll marketed a strange app game she invented about wrecking people’s love lives: “Your object is to break them up…to stir up shit.” Or as Axios described it more fully:
The game, Damn Love, is available for iPhones and Androids, and it’s as simple as a game can get: You’re shown two people who are madly in love. Your object is to break them up. Shown a pair of options, you choose the ones more likely to stir up shit, given each person’s personality and proclivities, and the quicker you can make them split, the more you increase your evilness and rise through the ranks.

In sum, when one has 25 years to find legal redress and does not—until the chance encounter person of the past becomes the most famous person in the world––then one should ask, “Why him now?”

And when arch-Trump hater and leftwing billionaire Reid Hoffman heard about Carroll and decided to fund her multimillion-dollar suit against Trump, then we can only confirm that the Carroll mess is a tessera in the larger Bragg/James/Smith/Willis lawfare effort to bankrupt, destroy, and imprison an ex-president to ensure the people cannot be trusted once again to elect him to the presidency.