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POLITICS

Can Donald Trump still run for president in 2024 after being found liable for sexual abuse?

Donald Trump was found liable for sexual assault by a jury and defaming his accuser E Jean Carroll. Will that make him ineligible to run for president?

Trump’s 2024 presidential run after sexual assault verdict
DAVID DEE DELGADOREUTERS

A Jury of nine, six men and three women, across the political spectrum found former president and GOP front-runner for the party’s 2024 nomination, Donald Trump, liable for sexual assault and defaming his accuser E Jean Carroll. The unanimous verdict was handed down on Tuesday just three hours after the jurors began deliberations.

They ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million in damages. However, because it was a civil lawsuit and not a criminal case Trump will not face prison time.

The former president immediately declared the verdict “A DISGRACE” and that it was “A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!” His lawyers and campaign said that they would appeal the verdict.

For her part, Carroll said in a statement: “I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and get my life back. Today, the world finally knows the truth.”

This the first legal case against Trump since leaving the White House that has resulted in a verdict as he is attempting to regain the presidency. So, will being found liable for sexual assault make him ineligible to continue his 2024 presidential run?

Can Donald Trump still run for president in 2024 after being found liable for sexual abuse?

Although we often hold those in elected office to higher moral standards than the average Joe or Jane, conviction of a crime, in most cases, does not disqualify one from running for public office, nor holding one. To reiterate, the verdict in the E Jean Carroll lawsuit was for a civil suit not a criminal case, claiming that Trump had raped her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room while she was helping him pick out a gift for a friend.

After coming forward with her story, the then-President Trump made what the jury found to be defamatory comments with malice. They awarded her just under $3 million in damages for defamation and just over $2 million for “sexual abuse” for a total of $5 million.

Trump is also facing 34 felony criminal charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for “Falsifying business records in the first degree.” He is also facing another civil lawsuit in New York from the State Attorney General, as well as ongoing federal and state criminal investigations.

The Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has told authorities to prepare for her decision this summer on whether any criminal charges will be announced. Those would be in relation to an investigation in Georgia for tampering with votes in that state, cast in the 2020 presidential election.

What does the US Constitution say about a criminal conviction and running for president?

There is no particular law or constitutional provision that prohibits a convicted or arrested person from being a presidential candidate.

The US Constitution only outlines three requirements to be eligible to become president. First, that the person be a natural-born citizen of the country; second, that the person be at least 35 years old; and third, that the person have U.S. residency for at least 14 years.

Legally, there would be no impediment to Trump’s efforts to return to office.

Will Republicans stand behind Trump after sexual abuse verdict?

While Trump isn’t prevented from continuing his bid for president, doubts are beginning to grow about whether Trump should be the one who represents the party. “I think that there will be some people, surely, who say, ‘You know, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have someone who’s been convicted of sexual assault to be the face for my children and my grandchildren and the world,’” said Senator Mitt Romney. “Donald Trump should not be our nominee and he certainly shouldn’t be president of the United States.”

Albeit many GOP politicians are sidestepping the issue of the verdict or questioning the legal challenges he faces. Senator Marco Rubio even called the sexual abuse trial and verdict “a joke.”

Fox News, for now at least, seems to be trying to distance itself from the former president somewhat, allowing negative commentary to be aired. One Fox guest challenged Trump calling the trial another “witch hunt.” Andy McCarthy, a columnist at the National Review, said that a witch hunt is an obsession that investigates a case that doesn’t really exist.

“Whereas in this instance , people brought forward evidence and it was presented to a jury, not to like a panel of Democrats, and they unanimously found that he’s liable,” said McCarthy. “I don’t think this is a case where he is going to be able to say that everybody had it in for him.”