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Victor Davis Hanson: $83M ’embarrassing farce’ just a taste of what awaits Trump

Victor Davis Hanson: $83M 'embarrassing farce' just a taste of what awaits Trump

$83 million? In a furor, Donald Trump stormed out of a New York courtroom after the conclusion of the defamation suit brought by author and dating/boyfriend/sex-advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. The Carroll suit was just settled against Trump for $83.3 million! It was largely subsidized by Reid Hoffman, a billionaire capitalist and mega-donor to the Democratic Party and left-wing causes. The subtext of Trump’s rage, aside from the outrageous monetary size of the defamation ruling, is that he was facing — and angered — a left-wing claimant, a quite hostile left-wing judge, and a left-wing New York jury. The civil suit serves as a mere preview of four additional left-wing criminal prosecutions, left-wing judges, and left-wing juries to come — all on charges that would have never been filed if Trump had either not run for president or been a liberal progressive. JURY DECIDES TRUMP MUST PAY $84.3M IN DAMAGES FOR DEFAMING E. JEAN CARROLL Yet here we are. The E. Jean Carroll case is the most baffling of all five. She, the alleged victim, did not remember even the year in which the purported sexual assault took place, nearly three decades ago. Observers have pointed out dozens of bizarre inconsistencies in her story, some of them seemingly exculpatory of Trump. It was never clear what the preliminaries were that supposedly (Trump denies meeting her) led both, allegedly, willingly to retreat together to a department store dressing room, where during normal business hours, the alleged assault took place. Moreover, the sexual assault complaint came forward decades post facto — and only after Trump was running for and then became president. Carroll eventually sued him for battery, but well after the statute of limitations had expired, thus the case seemed defunct. NIKKI HALEY SLAMS TRUMP AFTER DEFAMATION TRIAL VERDICT: ‘NOT TALKING ABOUT’ BORDER, INFLATION Her claims of defamation injuries arise in part from being fired from her advice column job at ELLE magazine. She claimed that Trump’s sharp denials and ad hominem retorts led her career and reputation to ruin. But the loss of a column for anyone at 76 does not seem such a rare occurrence, and the absence of a salaried job for four years in one’s late seventies does not seem to equate to an $83 million hit. Notably, the allegation that her dispute with Trump led to her firing was strongly denied by the very magazine that cut her loose. But then another strange thing happened. In 2022, a new law, « The Adult Survivors Act, » was passed by the New York legislature. It also post facto established a twelve-month window (beginning six months from the signing of the bill) that permitted survivors of long ago alleged sexual assaults to suddenly sue their accused long-ago perpetrator — regardless of the previous statute of limitations. That unexpected opening suddenly gave Carroll’s prior unsuccessful efforts a rebirth. And she quickly refiled with the help of arch-Trump-hating billionaire Hoffman. NEW YORK LAW THAT UNLEASHED WAVE OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT LAWSUITS FACES CONTROVERSY AS IT NEARS EXPIRATION Yet the bill may have been introduced with Trump particularly in mind — given the legislator who introduced it, Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Siga, was known as another Trump antagonist. More interestingly, Hoylman-Siga had earlier introduced and had passed another Trump-targeted bill. That « TRUST » act empowered particular federal Congressional committees to access New York State’s once-sealed tax returns of high-ranking government elected officials — such as Trump. That bill’s generally agreed subtext was a green light for anti-Trump members of Congress to obtain legal access to Donald J. Trump’s tax returns. So there is an eerie feeling that the New York legislature may have abruptly passed legislation that was aimed at the past conduct of Donald Trump but only after he entered the political arena. While these are not quite bills of attainder, there is something unsettling if they are post facto laws aimed at targeting the most famous and controversial man in America and the leading candidate for the presidency. In essence, they were targeted statutes designed to make Trump’s prior legally unactionable behavior suddenly quite legally actionable. TRUMP DEFENDS HIMSELF ON THE STAND, BLASTS E JEAN CARROLL TRIAL: ‘THIS IS NOT AMERICA’ Trump will be subject to such special treatment all summer and fall. Prosecutors Alvin Bragg, Letitia James, Jack Smith, and Fani Willis will synchronize their court business for maximum effect. Trump again will face left-wing big-city prosecutors, judges, and juries on charges that are politically driven, involving alleged behavior that is either usually not criminalized or not to the same degree as in Trump’s case. (Do we remember the nearly $375,000 federal fine belatedly leveled at an exempt Obama but only five years after his 2008 efforts to avoid identifying all the names of contributors to his campaign?). The stakes are higher each day as Trump closes in on the Republican presidential nomination and thus becomes the hope of half the country to end the Biden madness. Somehow, Trump will have to stay calm and give no opening to his legion of hostile prosecutors, all while conducting a nonstop campaign against Biden (and for a while, Haley), and while fighting to keep his name on various state ballots. So what we are witnessing is not even the extralegal efforts of Steele/Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie/DNC/Hillary Clinton in 2016, or the 2020 « Russian disinformation » ruse/change the voting laws/infuse half a billion dollars to absorb the work of the registrar machinations against Trump. We are way beyond all that. The legal system itself, hand-in-glove with left-wing politicos (compare campaign boasts of James and Willis, or prosecutorial visits to the January 6 committee and the White House) is turning the process of balloting and elections into an embarrassing farce. Still, Trump will have to soldier on. He must stay controlled amid the tsunamis, not play into the hands of his accusers, and remember that he may soon be the only eleventh-hour hope to stop this mockery of American law, customs and traditions. This op-ed was originally published on X and republished with permission, with edits for clarity.

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Publish date : 2024-01-28 14:06:11

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