Legal Experts Suggest Jurors Expected Forensic Evidence in E. Jean Carroll Lawsuit Against Trump

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Legal experts have weighed in on the recent verdict in the lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll against former President Donald Trump, stating that the jury may have found Trump liable for sexual abuse but not rape due to the lack of expected forensic evidence. Carroll, an advice columnist, accused Trump of sexually abusing her in a fitting room at Bergdorf Goodman in 1996. The Manhattan federal jury awarded Carroll $5 million for her claim of sexual abuse but did not find Trump liable for rape, despite both claims stemming from the same alleged incident.

New York attorney Duncan Levin noted that the jury believed Carroll’s testimony, raising the question of why they rejected her rape allegation. According to Levin, juries today often have high expectations of forensic evidence in cases, influenced by popular crime dramas like “CSI” and “Law & Order.” He suggested that the absence of evidence such as a rape kit, police or doctor’s reports, blood samples, or fingerprints may have influenced the jury’s decision regarding the rape claim.

Levin clarified that the jury’s decision did not stem from disbelief in Carroll but rather their desire for more concrete evidence when dealing with such serious allegations. However, the jury did find Carroll’s other claims, including sexual assault and defamation, to be credible enough to warrant an award.

Carroll testified during the trial that she did not report the alleged rape to the police due to various concerns, including fear of legal and professional repercussions from Trump. Her friend Carol Martin supported Carroll’s account, stating that she advised against reporting the incident, as she believed Trump would harm Carroll’s reputation.

Experts explained that physical evidence is often challenging to obtain in criminal rape trials, even in real-time cases. Given the age of Carroll’s case, the likelihood of obtaining physical evidence was even lower. Andrew Lieb, a Long Island lawyer, highlighted that the lack of specific details, such as an exact date or time, may have posed a problem for Carroll’s rape claim. The jury may have desired more specificity when deciding a case of rape, which influenced their verdict.

In addition to the sexual abuse claim, the jury found Trump liable for defamation. Carroll asserted that Trump’s labeling of her claims as a “hoax” on his social media platform, Truth Social, resulted in the loss of her job at Elle magazine, millions of readers, and damage to her journalistic reputation.

While Trump has maintained his innocence and intends to appeal the verdict, the legal experts have shed light on the jury’s decision and the potential factors that influenced their findings in Carroll’s lawsuit against him.