Does E. Jean Carroll hate men or not?
Attorneys for Donald J. Trump, former president and candidate for president, say that he will appeal the finding of a federal civil jury in Manhattan that he sexually assaulted E. Jean Carroll and, later, defamed her, resulting in a monetary award of a total of $5 million.
Now bear in mind that Hon. Robert H. Jackson suggested in an address, eighty-three years ago, that the purpose of litigation might just be aimed at embarrassing the defendant:
It is in this realm in which the prosecutor picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense, that the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies.
Could an intent to, at the very least, embarrass Mr. Trump explain Judge Lewis Kaplan's ruling to admit into evidence the infamous Access Hollywood tape, which shows Mr. Trump resorting to locker room braggadocio — based on the belief that even if the finding against Trump is reversed, the embarrassment stands? The leap from the Access Hollywood tape to forcible acts is quantum indeed. Only a judge tolerant of using his courtroom to embarrass individuals he dislikes would have received the tape in evidence. But even had the tape not been played to influence the jurors, their verdict likely would have gone against him. That is the reality in deep blue, fanatically anti-Trump Manhattan.
We are not likely to get a poll question: in the E. Jean Carroll case, did Donald J. Trump get a fair trial? Nevertheless, the result against the former president suggests that in a deep blue jurisdiction, the legal standard is "guilty based on the mere allegation, bolstered by hearsay, provided you are former president Trump."
One other nagging thought: Ms. Carroll testified that her encounter with Mr. Trump, 27 years ago, ended her enjoyment of romance. Yet, eight years after her alleged encounter with Trump, she was able to write a book telling her readers how to land a man in just six weeks: Mr. Right, Right Now!: How a Smart Woman Can Land Her Dream Man in 6 Weeks.
Information contained in Carroll's Wikipedia entry shows that she was married twice and divorced her second husband in 1990, six years before Trump. Did her two divorces sour her on men? Her 2019 tome What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal reportedly catalogued 21 bad experiences with men and six "hideous" encounters, including the alleged meeting with Mr. Trump.
How to explain the shift, in fifteen years, from advising women how to get their man in six weeks to convincing women they don't need men after all? Could Ms. Carroll just have been issue-shopping to sell books?
Mr. Trump has inelegantly commented, as proof of innocence, that E. Jean Carroll "isn't my type." Is that what really got Ms. Carroll's dander up?
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously noted: "Hard cases make bad law." Today it might be said, "Bad cases make hard law."
Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.