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Trump’s Legal Troubles: A Legacy of Courtroom Defeats

Trump’s Legal Troubles: A Legacy of Courtroom Defeats

One of the refrains from President Trump’s antagonists is that he is never held accountable by the legal system.  If you examine his record, however, you will find that he tends to lose in court on a regular basis.  In virtually every case Trump or his people filed in conjunction with the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, Trump lost.

He had previously lost in the Trump University case and had to pay a large fine.  He lost in the Trump Foundation case and had to pay a large fine.  And now, in the sexual assault case brought by E. Jean Carroll, Trump lost again – although the jury did absolve him from the more serious rape charge.

Trump’s defense was that he did not know the woman … never violated her … and was not involved in the dressing room assignment. While it may not have been rape, the jury clearly believed that he was in that department store changing room with Carroll and acted badly.  They also found that his public comments about Carroll defamed her.  He was fined more than $5 million for both findings.

Having covered innumerable court cases in my career, I believe in juries.  While Trump claims jury prejudice, I am inclined to discount that as a significant reason for the verdict – especially since this was a unanimous decision.  It is impossible – as an outside observer – to know all the arguments and details that were provided to the jury.  That is why I tend to trust jury verdicts.

Apart from the outcome, there were a number of things that were disturbing about this case.

  1.  The case was brought because the law was changed to essentially eliminate the Statute of Limitations in sexual assault cases.  The old law would have prevented such an old case (30 years) from being filed.  There is a good reason for Statutes of Limitations – especially in civil cases.  The Trump finding notwithstanding, I see the elimination of the Statute as corrosive to the American justice system.
  1. Carroll charged Trump with rape.  If the jury did not believe her accusation, why did they believe the lesser charge of sexual assault – more commonly referred to as molestation?  The entire case was based on what she said/he said.  Yet, the jury believed Carroll was truthful in one accusation but not in the more serious one.  I find that to be a bit schizophrenic. 
  1. The testimony of the other women who claim that Trump had sexually abused them – and the access Hollywood recording – are the types of testimony and evidence that are generally disallowed in court since the primary purpose is to prejudice the jury.  Admitting that testimony and evidence were particularly egregious since none of the women testifying had filed criminal charges or lawsuits.  The judge, in this case, eliminated one of the standard protections a defendant has in court.  If there is a successful appeal, it may be on this issue.
  1. In the final days of the trial, the judge issued a gag order on Trump.  I have never been a fan of court-ordered gag orders.  High visibility cases – especially political cases — are being tried in both a court-of-law and in the court-of-public-opinion.  The gag order prevents the defendant from pressing his or her case in public even as political opponents and adversarial media are going public with the prosecution’s arguments – even rendering “verdicts” on the defendant’s guilt.  

(In Trump’s case, I think his public statements were not helpful to his defense. He tends to shoot himself in the foot when he shoots off his mouth.  But I think that is his right.)

  1. Did Trump’s lawyers use the best strategy?  Should he have testified?  Most legal observers seem to believe it was a mistake for Trump not to at least appear in the courtroom – and even to not testify.  His lawyers may have been concerned about what Trump might have said under cross-examination.   The Trump lawyers produced no corroborating witnesses.  Several media legal experts were critical of the defense work.

Apart from the legal nuances of the case, the political question is how this will affect Trump’s political future.  He will be dealing with this case well into the presidential election season – with the prospect of more trials and more verdicts.

These cases may not make much difference.  In my judgment, Trump’s only chance of winning the General Election is if President Biden is the opponent and Kamala Harris remains on the ticket.  In 2016, many voters complained that they were presented with a choice of two unpopular candidates.  If it is a rematch between Trump and Biden in 2024, that sentiment will be significantly deepened.

Conversely, if Biden is the Democrat standard bearer in 2024, his only chance of winning reelection is to have Trump as an opponent.  While Biden is the odds-on favorite to be the Democrat nominee, that may not be the case with Trump.  

Have you come across any voters who do not already know how they will vote when it comes to Trump or Biden?  I have not.  It may be that the sexual assault case – or any of the other cases – will not change the future outcome for Trump.  There are not a lot of changeable minds among voters when it comes to Trump – or Biden, for that matter.  That is even true among independents.

In politics, the court-of-public-opinions is more important than a court-of-law because voters cast ballots on what THEY believe – not what juries decide.  At this juncture, I rate Biden with a better than 50/50 chance of being the Democrat nominee and Trump with less than a 50/50 chance of carrying the standard for the GOP – and these law cases may be the least important reasons.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

13 Comments

  1. Frank stetson

    Interesting piece, I will note that none of these cases or criminal courts. Two of them were settlements. Only the recent case was adjudicated by a jury, or Trump was found guilty of sexual abuse and defamation.

    One thing I noticed in all of these cases, is that while we are a republic governed by the rule of law, laws created by the people and for the people, that these cases exemplify how the law has different results depending on class. Trump enjoys the benefits of being in the rich white class and these case results are proof positive of that. Basically, he’s been able to buy his way out of serious trouble through his common tactic of delay, delay, delay, and finally, settlement. He has lawyers the poor can not afford. The poor seem to face another set circumstances, but putting up against the law.

    Secondly, I really don’t agree with Larry’s five conclusions, but will address later.

    Lastly, while interesting, I’m not sure what the final conclusions have to do with the story, and how Biden suddenly appeared. Seems like Larry went a long ways around the barn in order to milk that cow. He also failed to mention that in any race of Trump against a Democrat, he will vote for Trump. Court cases, notwithstanding. Sugh.

  2. mike

    let’s see if you will post this
    opinions are like ass soles everyone has one
    since the left at every turn has changed the rules to fit
    there plan
    only reinforces my feeling
    changing the rules only prove that
    we are right over the target

  3. JoeyP

    I think “We the People” are going to see what these court losses are . . . a “witch hunt” and the PEOPLE know that The Left are doing EVERYTHING they can to prevent POTUS trump from Running for President. they are throwing EVERYTHING against the WALL to see what STICKS. This is the MARK of a DESPERATE loser.

  4. frank stetson

    First off gents, the “left” did not do this: Trump did. He said he likes to grab em by the pussy and this time, he got caught in doing what he says he likes to do.

    Trump’s attorney’s voir dire’d the entire jury panel —— do you really think it was all left? They needed three hours to convict and ONE person could hang the jury. Do you really believe Trump was so stupid that he couldn’t get one Republican on the jury.

    Mike says something about assholes — perhaps he would have a clearer picture if he removed his head from his first before commenting :>) Just kidding but really — have a sense of the system before you spew.

    And JoeyP, the same message as you seem hopelessly lost in saying this is somehow a lost for the left. It’s a win for America and how we treat sex abuse today in NY. It shall not pass. As for the defamation — for Trump it’s like a swear jar that he just keeps putting quarters in. After the Town Hall, but wait, there may be more….As of May 11th, they are weighing the possibility.

    To Larry’s five fickle fingers of fate:

    1. Oh Larry, “There is a good reason for Statutes of Limitations – especially in civil cases. The Trump finding notwithstanding, I see the elimination of the Statute as corrosive to the American justice system.” IOW — you’re a believer that rape and sexual abuse should have a time limit after which, you get away with it? Murder doesn’t. For most of the country, rape doesn’t.

    11 States have less than ten years. Of course, Larry’s FL has four years and you gotta keep the rape baby too unless you can prove rape in a court of law — in fifteen weeks?
    7 States have 10 year SOL
    4 have greater than 10 which includes DC
    Most SOL states have DNA exception.
    29 states have NO SOL on rape.

    So Larry, most of the US, many of it Republican, have NO SOL on Rape.
    *https://www.rainn.org/state-state-guide-statutes-limitations*

    Yes, SOL on sex abuse is more liberal in term of SOL — and I am not sure IF you can bootstrap a lesser charge on top of the rape to get around that. That’s above my research pay grade at this time. But Larry —- we all have a pretty good idea what happened here. He slammed her against the wall, pinned her there, pulled down her panties, whipped it out, and started a rubbing and a tugging. Did his penis penetrate is the question, but really Larry —- does it really matter? Maybe in terms of the law, but as a Father, Larry, does it really matter to you? I am sorry, but I would react the same way 100 years for the point of contact and would be proud to be imprisoned for my response if in my family. Wouldn’t you Larry?

    2. “The entire case was based on what she said/he said. Yet, the jury believed Carroll was truthful in one accusation but not in the more serious one. I find that to be a bit schizophrenic.” See above and sorry, but FYVM. More serious? Really? Slammed against the wall, pinned, penis’d, and you need more??? Again, see above and you should be ashamed.

    3. Yor are correct and bring it on. IMO the judge, by limiting the testimony to two out of the dozens willing to testify, will pass muster on appeal based on the multitude of state and federal precedents. You can look them up, they exist, and this judge by selecting only two which he deemed relevant to the truth, will probably pass on appeal, if they even dare. But I agree, it is the potential issues, just low potential based on precedent, IMO.

    4. red herring; it has no effect on this case, Trump will be Trump independent of the law or the gag order. He just can’t help but defame.

    5. red herring; Trump’s choice. Most experts contend the defendant should not. I would have to gather, given Trump’s propensity to lie, it applies 10 times in his case. Should he have been there; oh yeah IMO.

    Basically, IMO, I am not disturbed about these things and have a very hard time concluding what you seem to think.

    In terms of the Trump electorate, they did not care before, they will not care now. He can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in NYC, and they will applaud. He can grab your daughter by the pussy, and they will cheer. He can call women ugly slut puppies and they will chant TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP and line up to buy caricatures on him as a superhero. And Larry will vote for him if he is one the ticket.

    Stetson has spoken :>)

    • Joe Gilbertson

      So you are thinking 30 year old charges just pop out of nowhere? Sorry you fell off the wagon again…

      • Frank stetson

        No they didn’t pop out of nowhere; I’m pretty sure your drunk if you think so.

        Then again, you probably are still too drunk to see a crime here. You’re so drunk, you can’t remember what engineering degree you have.

        If someone rapes your wife, are you ok with in in ten years? Nice.

        Not me.

        Then again, that’s just you, right?

    • larry Horist

      Frank, Frank, Frank. You are showing your ignorance again. The Carroll case was a CIVIL law suit, not a criminal case. You only need a majority of the Jury unless there is prior agreement in special cases.

      • Frank stetson

        You’re being a stupid fuck again to call me ignorant with your trademark “again.” Someone who ran for mayor and got beat soundly by Spanky the Clown,” a perennial loser, should not throw stones.

        That said, and proving you are, indeed, a stupid fuck, still, NY requires 5/6th to reach a verdict in most civil cases. However, both Reuters and CNN report this one had to be unanimous, at least to get monetary compensation.

        Your name calling deserves reproach, you stupid bastard, and you are, once again:

        BUSTED.

        stop it and I will be more than overjoyed to do the same. Or not. It’s your choice

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson …. Let me harken you back to your high school arithmetic. 5/6 of 12 would allow two jurors to vote against the majority. It is not a unanimous vote as you erroneously emphasized. So, often When you you are shown to be wrong, you respond with the f-word — and a few other vulgarities. And you criticize my calling you out for being ill-informed with a litany of vulgar and meaningless insults. You ARE what you claim to abhor. That is projection. How intelligent is that? And how childish to think that your frequent references to Spanky the Clown is civil … intelligent … or has any meaning to me or anyone else. I know you want to get under my skin, but it is far too thick — and you are far too meaningless — to have that happen.
          Frank, you need to grow up … and get a grip on your obsession with me and this site. It is making you crazy.

          • Frank stetson

            Read the rest.

            But thank you.

            You are correct on the NY civil law,

            But incorrect on your statement of requiring a majority, which if you harken back to your elementary school days on the 1940’s would be 51%.

            And when you learn to complete the passage you would realize that both Reuters and CNN noted it was and had to be unanimous, at least for the money as reported by one of these real journalists.

            As the rest is gibberish and meant to dismiss and demean, I have already sunk to your level once today and made you cry. But keep baiting me old man, keep degrading yourself, and I will respond just to see you cry like this again.

            Sun always sets behind you.

          • Frank stetson

            Give a sec mate, my response is being moderated.

            But do read the end of the passage, there was a unanimous requirement on this one it appears.

  5. Americafirst

    I NOTICED THAT ALL THE COMMENTS ARE FROM THE MALE SPECIES. I am a woman, and you all are going to hear a woman’s point of view. First, I read this website. It is so damned noticeable that Larry is against Trump. Most of his blogs from him are about Trump and what he did or did not do. So-ever since I was a preteen, men have been after me, one even raping me at the age of twelve, before I even knew about the facts of life. I am now in my seventies and could tell you stories about how I fought for my dignity and life – from MEN! How many of you who replied here have not done something to a young girl at some point in your life, including Larry? Yes, you all can deny it. It is just what the male species is designed to do, you will not change my mind on that fact! Men are men. Men do not want a female to have dignity, happiness and love – real love, not just sex. You take what you want and are proud of yourselves for it, but I am not proud of you or any male species. That does not mean I hate all men, just most. You all just want to trample us into the ground without any forethought of our feelings. Although I do not believe that Carroll woman, period. It was just her way of getting millions of dollars legally even if I believe it was illegal. She will have to answer for that at the pearly gates. I believe she was paid off to smear Trump fin the public’s eyes. Do any of you now want to change your comments? I wonder! Now before you all come back to slam me, I am clairvoyant and can do remote viewing. I can go back in time to find out truths. I already have. That’s why I slammed all of you. Men need to be more understanding, loyal and caring. I do not see that here! am ashamed of the male species of this planet if you continue to be self-centered men that cannot feel any good emotion but to hurt others.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      You are welcome to comment anytime, we certainly need more from your perspective