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Donald Trump Might Have Just Sunk His Own Legal Defense in Rape/Defamation Case Because He Couldn’t Stop Posting

A protester holds a sign reading "Your words have consequences"

After trying unsuccessfully to block the lawsuit from moving forward, Donald Trump was scheduled to be deposed Wednesday in the defamation suit brought against him by writer E. Jean Carroll. Carroll has accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s and while the statute of limitations has passed in that alleged crime, Trump insulted Carroll when she came forward with her story, calling her a liar and accusing her and other women who have accused him of assault of doing so for money or political gain. (He also crudely insulted her appearance, saying “she’s not my type,” offering not just an unnecessary personal insult but a fundamental misunderstanding of the driving motivations behind sexual assault.) Carroll sees his comments as defamation, and she’s taking him to court for it.

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Last year, the Department of Justice made the upsetting and perplexing decision to represent Trump in the case. Attorney General Merrick Garland is a notorious institutionalist and he chose to put the weight of the U.S. government behind an alleged criminal just so as not to let the reputation of the presidency get tarnished. (I hate to break it to him, but Trump spent four years tarnishing that reputation; I don’t think holding him accountable could do any more harm than has already been done.)

The DOJ’s argument in defending Trump was that any atrocious, defamatory comments Trump made while in the White House were done “in his capacity as President,” essentially, as part of his job. That’s ridiculous (insulting a woman’s character and physical appearance is not part of the president’s job description) but it doesn’t matter because if the judge buys the argument, it’s basically impossible to convict a president or other high-ranking government official for anything—even clear crimes—that they do in service of their job.

If only Trump could have kept his mouth shut, this could have worked out for him. Instead, he decided to go vent his anger in a rant over on Truth Social.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan denied Trump’s attempts to delay his deposition. That set him off, and Trump took to his mess of a Twitter knock-off to rail against Kaplan, Carroll, and the legal system in general. In the post—which is actually just a screengrab of an email sent to supporters, presumably to raise money off of—Trump called Carroll’s story “a hoax and a lie,” a “scam,” and “completely made up.” He said she is one of many “liars, cheaters, and hacks” trying to ruin his reputation. He even repeated his gross assertion that “this woman is not my type!” while also acknowledging that he “is not supposed to say” that. Trump said straight-up: “E. Jean Carroll is not telling the truth.”

In essence, he just repeated all the original alleged defamation—everything Carroll is suing him over. And this time, he’s not president anymore, which completely undermine’s the DOJ’s entire argument in his defense.

Carroll should and very likely will update her complaint to include these recent non-presidential attacks.

It would be so fitting for Trump to bring about his own legal downfall due entirely to his inability to simply not try to Tweet (or, I guess, “Truth”) Through It.

(image: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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