- A judge clarified that former U.S. President Donald Trump was indeed found to have raped E. Jean Carroll.
- The initial verdict said Trump was guilty of sexual abuse, not rape, but the judge explained that this was a matter of legal definitions, not real-world impact.
- Despite Trump’s attempts to minimize his actions, the judge reinforced the severity of the offense.
The Confusion Cleared
In the high-profile case of Donald Trump versus E. Jean Carroll, a critical clarification was made by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. Amid the jargon and legalese, Kaplan cut through the noise to deliver a potent message: Despite what Trump’s lawyers claimed, the jury had indeed found that Trump raped Carroll.
Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, asserted that the jury had only found Trump guilty of sexual abuse.
In response, Kaplan wrote, “The finding that Ms. Carroll failed to prove that she was ‘raped’ within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape’.”
In the world of law, words carry weight. The line between ‘rape’ and ‘sexual abuse’, as it turned out, was not as clear as it seemed. While New York law specifies ‘rape’ as forcible penetration with one’s penis, broader definitions like those from the American Psychological Association and the Justice Department include penetration “with any body part or object.”
This difference in definitions is key. Trump’s actions, which were found to involve forced digital penetration, fit the general understanding of rape, despite not fitting the narrow legal definition. Kaplan’s clarification throws light on this and expands the understanding of the jury’s decision.
A Pivotal Moment in Legal Battles
The judge’s clear message was delivered as Trump was trying to appeal the verdict against him and reduce the jury’s $5 million decision. Kaplan stood his ground, stating, “The jury’s finding of sexual abuse therefore necessarily implies that it found that Mr. Trump forcibly penetrated her vagina.”
This crucial clarification from Judge Kaplan changes the game, undermining Trump’s attempts to downplay his actions. It highlights the true gravity of the jury’s decision and underscores the severity of Trump’s offense.
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