Despite some big, “tough guy” talk, Donald Trump has opted out of facing E. Jean Carroll, the woman currently bringing a lawsuit suit alleging that he raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, and later defamed her by lying about it.
Between rounds of golf last week at his Doonbeg County Clare, Ireland, golf course Trump had made some brave remarks to reporters, asserting that he would be cutting his trip short so he could head back to the States to clarify his side of the sordid story to a Manhattan jury.
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As explained by Cillian Sherlock and Grainne Ni Aodha, reporting for the Irish Examiner:
“I’m going back to New York. I was falsely accused by this woman, I have no idea who she is – it’s ridiculous,” he said.
He said he was cutting his trip to Ireland short because of the trial.
He added: “It’s a disgrace but we have to do it, it’s a part of life.”
Calling the lawsuit a “political scam,“ Trump left no doubt he would face his accuser down, framing his return as a moral obligation:
“I don’t have to but I choose to.” He added: “It’s a disgrace that this is allowed to happen.
Indeed, he didn’t “have to” come back and testify. And in fact, Joseph Tacopina, his lawyer in the case, had consistently maintained that he would not. But having received word of Trump’s sudden change of heart, Judge Lewis Kaplan, who had previously denied Trump’s request that the jury be told Trump was “excused” from attending, did something very unusual. Despite the fact that both Trump and Carroll had rested their case, the judge declared he would allow Trump’s lawyer to make a motion that Trump be permitted to testify after all. The judge set a deadline of 5 PM EST on Sunday for such a request to be made.
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That deadline has come and gone. As noted by POLITICO, Tacopina declined to comment on Trump’s failure to take up the court on its generous and highly unusual offer.
It’s not really a mystery why Trump’s bravado seems to have vanished into thin air. Although he was not required to attend the trial, he was compelled to provide a deposition earlier in the case. During that deposition Trump exhibited many of the disturbing personal qualities that prompted voters to reject him in 2020, notably including his assertion that he could not have raped Carroll because she wasn’t his “type.” Obviously agitated at times during the process, Trump compounded and reinforced these traits when he mistook a photograph of Carroll for his own second wife. He also did himself no favors by advising Carroll’s attorney that she wasn’t his “type,” either (although that attorney, Roberta Kaplan, was doubtlessly relieved at receiving this unsolicited information). Being subject to live cross-examination on those and many other statements he made during that deposition would certainly have proved an unpleasant experience for Trump.
But not testifying, after vehemently asserting that he planned to do so, also sends an unmistakable message: either that Carroll’s allegations of rape were so trivial and unimportant to him that he, after due consideration, could not be bothered to simply refute them before a jury of his peers, or (more likely), that he was simply too much of a coward to show his face. Either way, it’s a bad look.
Given Trump’s failure to live up to his own bluster, the jury will hear closing statements Monday, and will likely begin deliberations shortly thereafter.
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