Explainer: Next steps for former President Donald Trump after civil trial outcome

WAFF 48's Jasmyn Cornell reporting
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 6:17 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - This month, a New York jury found former president Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996. The decision awarded her $5 million. Just two days later, he appealed this decision in the trial.

Carroll accused Trump of raping her in a department store dressing room and then defaming her when he denied it and said she wasn’t his “type.” The former president did not testify in the trial. Trump also claimed that he didn’t know Carroll and that he was “silenced” from speaking publicly about the case.

Some people believe this outcome could haunt the former president as he campaigns to regain the White House.

What are the next steps?

According to political analyst Dr. Waymon Burke, this is a civil case where Trump has been found liable as opposed to being guilty, so the process is different.

Burke says a higher court will review whether errors were made in the trial. It’s the first step in a process that will move the case to a three-judge panel in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. According to Burke, the verdict may be altered financially on an appeal like this.

Will this impact his 2024 campaign?

“We’ll have to wait and see if the trial will impact Trump’s campaign for office,” Burke said.

Trump is still able to run for president, and many people are already supporting him. Trump, like many politicians, has a core of supporters that refuse to leave him regardless of what he’s done or the accusations made against him, Burke continued.

”With probably any other candidate, it would be the end of that candidate’s effort to obtain elected office,” Burke said. “Former President Trump seems to defy political gravity, at least among supporters within the Republican primaries and caucuses that will occur beginning in January and February 2024.”

What were the reactions to the verdict?

The initial reactions to the verdict offered no reason to suggest that Trump’s position as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination is under any immediate threat, but while some Republicans are still supporting Trump, other members of the party have raised questions about his fitness for office.

“I am sorely disappointed in the character traits that are becoming apparent with respect to former President Donald Trump. More than 24 women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault [and] another few now who have actually set it under oath,” said Mo Brooks, former United States Representative for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District.

Brooks said Trump had the opportunity to testify under oath in a very public setting, and he chose not to. He believes Trump has a fear of being charged with perjury and convicted of the crime, and this deterred him from going under oath.

“Quite frankly, I believe these bad character traits are something that Republican primary voters have to take into account,” Brooks said.

According to Brooks, there are a good number of Republican candidates who have good character, including Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Brooks said he tends to favor Desantis.

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