By Janet Kelly
NOT ONCE, but twice, E. Jean Carroll has stood up to Donald Trump.
If you’re not up-to-date on the goings-on, here’s what to know:
Last spring, a jury found Trump liable for the defaming and sexual abuse—not rape—of Carroll, a former advice columnist for Elle magazine. She was awarded $5 million. (She said he assaulted her 30 years ago in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room.)
Carroll took the stand again last week for a federal court trial in the same Manhattan courthouse to determine how much money former President Donald Trump must pay Carroll for comments he made in 2019 denying he sexually assaulted her. The judge in the current case has already said the former president’s 2019 comments defamed her; it’s now up to the jury to determine the damages he has to pay.
Carroll told jurors: “I’m here because Donald Trump assaulted me, and when I wrote about it [in her 2019 book] What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, he said it never happened. He lied, and it shattered my reputation.”
We think E. Jean Carroll is an 80-year-old female rock star. Here are just 10 reasons why:
- In light of the MeToo movement, she said she couldn’t say silent about the abusive men in her life—and the women she had advised over the years to buck up, speak up, or go to the police. “I felt like a fraud,” she said, because she hadn’t done that herself. By the time she submitted her book proposal—in May 2018—she’d rewritten it as part memoir and included the Trump allegation.
- She’s intrepid. She hiked the mountains of Papua New Guinea as a writer for Playboy (she was the magazine’s first female contributing editor), interviewed the notorious Hunter S. Thompson for her 1993 book Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson, and wrote a tough-love advice column for Elle for more than 25 years.
- She lives by the words of Marcus Aurelius: “I learned that when you get up in the morning you have to believe that this could be the day you die and that grass will be very shortly growing on your grave, and so get on with it,” she said. “It’s a real good way to get up. . . . It really keeps you happy, oddly enough, because you’ve got nothing to lose.”
- She’s fighting not just for herself. “The lawsuit is for all women who have been harassed, who cannot speak up and don’t have the money to sue,” she said.
- She knows how to dress, arming herself for court wearing layered knits, button-ups, blazers, and belted coats in shades of cream, brown and burgundy.
- She will always be remembered as the woman who sued a former president for rape and was awarded $5 million for sexual abuse and defamation.
- Trump didn’t stop defaming her, so she is suing him again.
- If this is what 80 looks like and acts like, we should all be so lucky, so well-spoken, and ready to wage a war against power on her own behalf and for women everywhere.
- She’s got more chutzpah than most every Republican man in Congress, who have all been too chicken to go against Donald Trump for fear of repercussions.
- She has an army of wonderful women friends.
NB: The trial is scheduled to resume tomorrow after being canceled Monday and Tuesday because of a sick juror and a suspected case of Covid.