Saturday January 27, 2024
Yesterday, after I texted a friend of mine the above number—the amount a jury told Donald Trump he had to pay writer E. Jean Carroll for defamation, or defamation after the fact, or defamation after the facts had found for a first defamation—my friend responded in the weary manner of people on the left: Yes, but will she ever see it? Which, yeah, I get. Trump can appeal, Trump can delay—and he's good at appealing and delaying—but at least here he has no case to appeal because his parking-garage lawyer didn't set it up to be appealable. She needed to introduce evidence correctly, or offer objections at the right moment, and she didn't do these things. So appeals may be shorter and more pointless than normal.
More important: Give us this moment. For god's sake. Let's bask in it. Let's enjoy it.
Here's some basking: a good article from Eric Lach over at The New Yorker. I'm basking in the headline alone: “Nine Regular People Tell Donald Trump to Shut Up and Pay Up.” How perfect is that? Lach references it near the close while also taking a swipe at the GOP:
After taking a close look at the facts, nine people picked at random determined that Trump was responsible for what he did, and needed to be punished for it. In this, the jury has gone further than the United States Congress was able to go. It gives you some kind of hope.
Why $83.3 million? Because Carroll had good lawyers, led by Roberta Kaplan, whom, in my day job, we covered nearly 10 years ago. Maybe it's time to do it again.
It's a huge number. Last spring, after hearing a related case that Carroll brought against Trump, an earlier jury had also sided with Carroll, concluding that Trump had sexually abused her and then defamed her—but the award in that case was five million dollars. During this second trial, which began in mid-January, Carroll's lawyers emphasized that Trump's attacks on their client continued, even after the first jury found against him. “This is a fake story, made-up story,” Trump said at a CNN town hall last spring. “What kind of a woman meets somebody and brings them up and within minutes you're playing hanky-panky in a dressing room?” If anything, the attacks escalated after the last trial. “For more than four years, he has not stopped,” Shawn Crowley, another of Carroll's lawyers, said. “How much money will it take to make him stop?” Kaplan, during her closing arguments, reminded the jurors that Trump claims to be a billionaire. “It will take an unusually high punitive-damages award to stop Donald Trump,” she said. She suggested at least twenty-four million dollars. The jurors came to $83.3 million all on their own.
Trump is still the presumptive GOP nominee. But I'm enjoying a moment of well-deserved comeuppance for shit stain of a person. Let there be many, many more.