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Trump’s Accuser E. Jean Carroll’s Magical Bergdorf Goodman Tour

A Wall Street Journal editorial best summarized the trial in which a New York City jury awarded E. Jean Carroll a total of $5 million in her lawsuit against Donald Trump for sexual abuse and defamation: “It’s plausible that the former President abused and defamed Ms. Carroll. It’s also plausible that he was falsely accused.”

Bravo, Journal. I wholeheartedly agree. No person with an ounce of integrity would suggest that it’s unfathomable for Donald Trump to be capable of such behavior. Which is precisely why – Trump’s reputation preceding him – it’s also quite plausible that he’d be the prime target of a false and frivolous lawsuit, because it’s far likelier that a jury would believe the accuser if the defendant is Trump than, say, Mike Pence, who famously won’t even dine alone with a woman to whom he’s not related.

My answer to the question “do you think he did it?” in such situations is almost always the same: “I don’t know, because I wasn’t there.”

For the record, I’ve always found the progressive claptrap mantra of “you must always believe the woman” to be absurd on its face, but in no way does that suggest that female victims of sexual abuse aren’t truthful in most cases, perhaps even in the overwhelming majority of them, or that their reluctance to come forward for many years means their accusations lack merit.

The best we can do, since none of us was there – is draw a limited and thereby imperfect conclusion based on the incomplete information at our disposal.
According to Carroll’s story, Trump, even then one of the most famous people in the world, proceeded to walk 292 feet from his residence/office headquarters Trump Tower, to the high-end department store Bergdorf Goodman, which takes about a minute. At the time, Trump was not loathed by throngs of people who were conditioned to hate him through constant missives delivered by their favorite comfort food feeding trough media outlet; he was generally well-liked and an instantly recognizable celebrity.

Now, please follow along: this extremely high-profile star purportedly entered Bergdorf Goodman and then proceeded to rape a woman who, according to Carroll, Trump recognized as the ‘advice lady’ (she wrote the ‘Ask Jean’ column in Elle magazine for years).

That Trump – mind you, not the Trump of today, but the 49-year-old Trump of late 1995 or early 1996 (we’ll get to why the date is vague later) – committed a horrific felony in a public department store, a stone’s throw from his building, and didn’t choose an obscure, powerless victim, such as a young homeless runaway, but instead an established woman of means and influence who easily could turn him in.

Maybe she’d be afraid to turn him in. Maybe she’d want to block out the whole thing. Maybe she, albeit the victim, was ashamed. But for Trump to have taken that chance is the very definition of insanity. I know some people insist that Trump’s insane now, but do any of them really think he was insane at 49?

Next, let’s consider the alleged scene of the crime. I’m very familiar with Bergdorf Goodman. I went to college in that neighborhood. Years later, a different college where I was a dean for many years, was a five-minute walk. I had a law office a block-and-a-half away.

I don’t think I ever bought anything from Bergdorf (they charged $185 for a shirt in the 1990s! I still wouldn’t pay that much for one shirt), but I’ve walked through the store several times, and it was always crowded. And that’s on weekdays, when most people are working. Yet, if we are to take Carroll at her word, the floor was completely devoid of customers and employees, and though the dressing rooms are kept locked, the one into which Trump supposedly lured her was miraculously open.

Next, there were no witnesses. Bergdorf has no security footage of Trump even being in that store, let alone with Carroll (she says Trump met her by chance and asked her to help him shop).

But two of Carroll’s friends say that at the time, Carroll told them what happened. Again, we are to believe that from 1996 until 2017, with Trump constantly in the public eye, especially since being elected president, neither of these women were tempted to tell others “he raped my friend” and so Carroll and her two friends steadfastly adhered to the once time-honored principle of ‘omerta’ that many contemporary criminals abandoned?

Carroll says she can’t remember whether this happened in late 1995 or early 1996.

Although it’s possible that if her story is true, Carroll might’ve been so distraught by the entire experience that she truly can’t recall, taken with all the other peculiarities makes me wonder how a jury could find that she was telling the truth, even by the low civil suit standard of a preponderance of the evidence.

Nonetheless, they found Trump liable sexual abuse and defamation, to the tune of $5 million.

Historically, ‘he said, she said’ stories don’t hold up in court. Apparently, ‘he said, she and her two friends who weren’t there said’ ones now do.

Finally, I’m often asked “why do you torture yourself trying to defend the indefensible?” Is it that I’m hopelessly devoted to Trump? No. Is it that I’m trivializing rape? Shame on anyone who thinks that.

Rather, it’s because 50 years from now, Donald Trump will no longer be alive. But the United States will still be standing. And we owe it not only to ourselves but to our posterity to prevent it from becoming a place where the media, academia, Hollywood, and the legal system can eliminate whomever they choose though systematic character assassination disguised as justice.

 

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