That of Donald Trump against the writer Jean Carroll in 1996 was a sexual assault: it was established by the jury of the trial that took place in Manhattan against the former US president, denounced by the victim, at the time a journalist of Elle magazine, who had told of having been groped in the dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York. The tycoon was also convicted of defamation, when – in rejecting the accusations – he said that the woman “had made everything up” to get publicity and push the sale of her book. The court jury ordered Trump to pay a total of $5 million in damages.
“I have absolutely no idea who this woman is, this verdict is a disgrace, a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time,” commented the former president on his social Truth. The process had an important media coverage in the United States, also thanks to Trump’s recent announcement of his candidacy for the next presidential elections. On Wednesday evening he will have to defend himself in his first public outing after the sentence, in a debate on CNN. “When I wrote about the violence, he denied it. He lied and destroyed my reputation. I’m here to get my life back”, Carroll’s words in front of the judges.
“It was a horrible feeling – continued the writer – she put her hand inside me and twisted her finger”. The jury did not believe the rape version but framed the case as a sexual assault. The woman filed the lawsuit last November under the New York State Adult Survivors Act, a bill that widened the window for sexual assault allegations. Since it is not a criminal but a civil trial, the standard of evidence is not elevated to “beyond a reasonable doubt” but the “preponderance” is enough, as in Italy with the formula of “more probable than not”.