In anticipation of the shitstorm produced by The T-Rump’s Town Hall on CNN this evening, let’s cut away and review the E, Jean Carroll verdict from yesterday.
Or at least some definite all-women winning side of the courtroom particulars:
“Not all men” is a common refrain of the oblivious and overly defensive. But E. Jean Carroll’s trial victory is a legitimate “not all men” moment—and a ray of hope for those fighting against toxic masculinity. My latest for @maddowblog here:https://t.co/fUDljDpyWb
— Lisa Rubin (@lawofruby) May 10, 2023
Lisa Rubin at MSNBC this afternoon on Carroll’s win for women:
Indeed, in her triumph, Carroll has been heralded for not only for her bravery and persistence, but also praised for her personal evolution from publicly “fabulous” yet silent victim to outspoken advocate for survivors and imperfectly perfect avatar of the post-#MeToo era.
And from her courthouse exits each trial day to her morning show appearances on Wednesday, Carroll has been flanked consistently by another, agreed-upon hero of the story: famed litigator Roberta Kaplan. Yes, Kaplan is the architect of Carroll’s legal strategy writ large. But perhaps more importantly, she is the unseen lawyer questioning Trump during his now-infamous videotaped deposition. Thanks to her focused, restrained questioning, Trump himself furnished the most damning evidence in the case despite never putting on a defense.
Still, without diminishing either woman, there are other, more unexpected heroes without whom Carroll might not have won. They include multiple jurors and another of Carroll’s lawyers. And the biggest surprise of all? Each of them is male.
My friend J is a mother to one son, now 9, for whom she works hard to explode the traps of toxic masculinity. And while her feminism is without question, she invests her energy now in a cultural change campaign aimed at boys and men. She tells me that unless and until we value men for being as loving and respectful as they are strong and aggressive, the gender roles Team Trump both policed and exalted at Carroll’s trial will continue to endanger girls and women.
And that understanding is part of what makes Carroll’s trial victory so remarkable. Her team harnessed the persuasive power of one male lawyer to convince six male jurors that the perfect rape victim doesn’t exist, that the rape culture Trump perpetuates is unacceptable, and that E. Jean Carroll was wholly believable. And for that, it’s worth acknowledging that the list of heroes from the E. Jean Carroll trial not only includes many women, but also at least seven men.
Good music to the ears.
And this snip from a piece by Margaret Sullivan at the Guardian this morning:
The New York jury’s decision certainly didn’t take long. It was just a couple of hours for the mostly male panel to come back with its decision.
So quick, in fact, that the three women and six men seemed to have their minds made up by the time they entered deliberations.
“I think that jurors just sat around and said how long do we need to sit here to make it look like there was something to consider and we considered it,” observed Kim Masters, editor at large at the Hollywood Reporter.
As the trial’s closing arguments concluded this week, I found myself thinking of the quip attributed to Groucho Marx (sometimes slightly misquoted): “Who are you going to believe – me or your own eyes?”
In this case, the question was “Who are you going to believe – a proven congenital liar or a 79-year-old, beloved advice columnist who offered significant corroboration for her version of events?”
The jury chose to believe E Jean Carroll – not fully, but they chose to believe her. They (probably) didn’t even know that Trump was lying about the trial only hours before, when he falsely claimed on social media that he never had a chance to speak on his own behalf. Of course, he had had every chance to do so.
And the verdict to a greater extent crosses gender lines.
Further, Carroll on the Today Show this morning:
Asked what she would say to Trump if she could, Carroll said she approached his attorney, Joe Tacopina, at the conclusion of the case and let him know.
“Tacopina put out his hand and I said, ‘He did it and you know it.’ So I got my chance,” she recalled.
Maybe a good first day in the T-Rump comeuppance festival, yet here we are once again…
(Illustration out front: ‘Art Critic’ by Norman Rockwell, found here.)