Despite all odds, there’s a good chance that Donald Trump will have to actually appear in court, rather than settling out of it.
The plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe, alleges that the Republican Party presidential candidate raped her when she was just 13 years old. According to the woman, the incidents took place at a series of parties thrown in 1994 by billionaire, and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.
Although the credibility of Jane Doe has been questioned, many are quick to point out that the skepticism reflects a bigger problem in our society: rape culture. While an estimated one out of every six women has been a victim of rape and someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in the U.S., it’s believed that only 15-35% of rapes are ever reported to the police. This marks the third time the plaintiff has brought forth these allegations in court. Jane Doe did not have a lawyer the first time she filed, and the case was subsequently dismissed. The public has been quick to bring up Jane Doe’s questionable supporters and the fact she refuses to speak to reporters as “evidence” that her claims have no merit.
However, Jane Doe’s claims are backed up by witness accounts from a “Tiffany Doe,” who states she worked as a party planner for Epstein during the time of the alleged assault. She says she was responsible for finding young, attractive girls to attend his parties. She also reported bearing witness to Trump’s sexual encounters with Jane Doe, including one incident “where Mr. Trump forcibly raped her despite her pleas to stop.”
As the election draws closer, it would seem that Trump’s supporters (or Jane Doe’s doubters, at the very least) are getting bolder. Earlier this week, a scheduled press conference concerning the case had to be called off due to numerous threats that had been sent to the plaintiff. After the cancellation, attorney Lisa Bloom — who is handling the media-related aspects of the suit — tweeted that her firm’s website and emails had been hacked.
The case will not be heard in court until after Election Day, but if no settlement is reached, both parties will have to appear in court prior to the presidential inauguration in January. Despite vehement denials from Mr. Trump, the civil lawsuit will be heard in court on December 16.
It’s rare that such a case would even receive a court hearing. Today, federal civil cases rarely go to trial. In 1962, around 11.5% of these cases ended up in court, but experts say that only 1% of civil cases ever go to trial in today’s world.
Vice president and counsel for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, has repeatedly denied the legitimacy of Jane Doe’s claims, telling the New York Daily News that they were “categorically untrue, completely fabricated, and politically motivated.”
Further, Trump’s spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, said that the other women who have accused the Republican candidate of unwanted sexual advances were simply seeking their “15 minutes of fame.”
For many people, this argument doesn’t hold much water, given that these women have experienced threats, public scrutiny, and unwarranted shame by going public about their sexual assault.
Whether Trump will try to quietly settle the suit remains to be seen — but since The Donald hasn’t been one to do anything quietly, he may end up battling it out in court come December.