Jonathan Turley says President Trump’s ‘biggest problem’ in E. Jean Carroll case was that he did not testify

The jury in the E. Jean Carroll v. Trump case ruled on Tuesday afternoon that former President Trump is liable for sexual abuse and defamation charges. While Trump announced ahead of a verdict he planned to appeal the decision, Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley unpacked the case on “The Story” and weighed the “biggest problem” the president faces in an appeal.


JONATHAN TURLEY: That dog won’t hunt. If that’s the argument on appeal, then it’s going to be a rather quick appeal. There are other issues here that he might appeal on. Judge Kaplan was really quite yielding on the demands for a witness testimony. He allowed in a lot of evidence, including the Hollywood access tape and these other witnesses. Obviously, Trump had never been convicted or found guilty, either criminally or civilly in those cases. So there was a lot of evidence here that the defense could say should not have been brought into the case or should have been handled differently. The problem for President Trump is that this is a mix question of law and fact. There are some legal issues here, like the ones I mentioned about allowing in certain types of testimony. But when it comes to factual determinations, the court of appeals tends to be leery of overturning those. Jury decisions are really sort of iron plated because you have to show that they were clearly erroneous. They’re not going to be able to show that here with all this testimony. So the only way to really unravel this is to say that the jury heard things that they shouldn’t have been allowed to hear because they were too prejudicial. The biggest problem for the president, I think at trial, and it’s going to be on appeal, is he decided not to testify. He didn’t even appear in the courtroom. That not only triggered inferences, but it likely poisoned the well a bit for these jurors. Jurors don’t like it. They don’t like it in criminal or civil cases when the key accused party doesn’t speak to them. 

A federal jury in New York City decided on Tuesday that Trump was not liable for rape, but was liable for sexual abuse and defamation. The former president has been ordered to pay $2 million. 

Carroll, 79, alleged that Trump raped her at the Bergdorf Goodman department store across the street from Trump Tower in Manhattan some time in 1996. According to Carroll, the two had a chance run-in at the store, where Trump was shopping for a gift for “a girl.” She said he asked for her advice, and the two shopped together before he pushed her into a dressing room and assaulted her. Trump and his legal team insist that Carroll’s allegations are fabricated, with the former president’s initial reaction including an accusation that Carroll was motivated by wanting to sell copies of her book.


That denial resulted in Carroll slapping Trump with a defamation claim, claiming that his response caused harm to her reputation.

Carroll’s lawsuit requested compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an order that Trump retract his statement.

Fox News’ Brooke Signman, Danielle Wallace, Marta Dhanis, Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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