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Image: Former President Donald Trump attends an event at the Mar-a-Lago Club on April 4, 2023 in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Former President Donald Trump attends an event at the Mar-a-Lago Club on April 4, 2023 in West Palm Beach, Fla.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

As Trump faces legal accountability, he clearly doesn’t like it

Donald Trump isn’t altogether used to legal accountability, and he’s clearly not handling it well. This is likely to get worse before it gets better.


As Donald Trump prepared to learn the outcome of E. Jean Carroll’s civil case against him, the former president insisted via social media that he was “not allowed to speak or defend” himself, adding that he’d been subjected to “Unconstitutional silencing.”

That wasn’t even close to being true: Trump was offered multiple opportunities to testify in the case, but he chose not to. Even for him, this was a lazy and brazen lie.

But after the jury sided with his accuser, the Republican’s latest meltdown began in earnest. “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS,” he wrote on his platform. “THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE.” The defeated defendant soon added that this was a “VERY UNFAIR TRIAL” because he had “A TRUMP HATING, CLINTON APPOINTED JUDGE” overseeing a trial in “AN ANTI-TRUMP AREA.”

After stepping away for a while, Trump’s online tantrum began anew at 1:20 a.m. local time, with a new harangue accusing the judge of being “a terrible person” who hates him “more than is humanly possible.” The former president then complained about the name of Carroll’s cat.


Trump isn’t altogether used to legal accountability, and he’s apparently not handling it well.

Making matters worse, there’s no reason to assume that yesterday’s verdict marks the end of the former president’s legal difficulties. As Politico summarized, “Now is the season of former President Donald Trump’s discontent.”

A federal jury’s finding that Donald Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll in the mid 1990s is a historic rebuke of a former president and frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination. But it’s also a prologue. Legal threats in Washington, Manhattan and Atlanta — both criminal and civil — are crystallizing in ways Trump has skirted for his entire political life. And the story of his bid to regain the presidency is likely to be defined by his attempts to stave off criminal liability for things he did the last time he occupied the White House.

For those who might need a refresher, let’s revisit our earlier coverage and take stock.

In New York, Trump has been indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, as part of its investigation into the former president’s hush money scandal.

In Georgia, Trump is under investigation by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, which is scrutinizing his alleged efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.

Special counsel Jack Smith is leading a Justice Department investigation into Trump taking classified materials from the White House, refusing to give them back, and allegedly obstructing the retrieval process.

The special counsel’s office is also investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack and the efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Federal officials, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, have also launched a criminal investigation surrounding his special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

This does not include a variety of civil cases pending against the former president, including the sweeping case brought by the New York Attorney General’s Office, and several lawsuits filed by police officers injured during the Jan. 6 attack.

There’s also Carroll’s other case against Trump: As Politico’s report added, “She has sued him over comments he made about her in 2019 — a lawsuit distinct from the case she won on Tuesday (which involved sexual assault and defamation for comments he made in 2022). A trial has been delayed as courts have weighed whether Trump can be sued in his personal capacity over comments he made while president.”

There’s also some question as to whether the district attorney’s office in Westchester County, N.Y., is still examining Trump’s alleged financial crimes.

I’m not in a position to say with any confidence what, if anything, will happen in these cases. It’s possible that they will be resolved without Trump facing any additional criminal charges, leaving the Republican and his defense attorneys to focus exclusively on the case in Manhattan.

But as things stand, there’s no reason to assume that Trump has seen the end of his legal troubles — just as we haven't seen the end of his online tantrums.

This post revises our related earlier coverage.