On Monday, Former President Trump sued ABC News and George Stephanopoulos, alleging defamation. This came after an interview on March 10 on “This Week” where Representative Nancy Mace, a rape survivor, accused Stephanopoulos of attempting to “shame” her.

Stephanopoulos had questioned Mace about her endorsement of Trump despite recent court verdicts against him in lawsuits involving allegations of sexual misconduct by E. Jean Carroll.

Trump’s Lawsuit Challenges Stephanopoulos’ Statements

In Trump’s lawsuit, he argues that Stephanopoulos repeatedly stated during questioning that Trump had been found “liable for rape.” However, the jury only found Trump responsible for sexual abuse under New York law, not rape.

Source: AP/Jeff Dean

“Judges and two separate juries have found him liable for rape and for defaming the victim of that rape. How do you square your endorsement of Donald Trump with the testimony we just saw,” Stephanopoulos asked during the interview.

I’m Not Going To Do That

“Well, I will tell you, I was raped at the age of 16, and any rape victim will tell you, I’ve lived for 30 years with an incredible amount of shame over being raped. I didn’t come forward because of that judgment and shame that I felt,” Mace said during the interview.

Source: X/@metzgov

“Mace said it was a shame that George would never understand her feelings. She also stated that she wouldn’t answer a question on his show that aimed to shame her about another potential rape victim. “I’m not going to do that,” Mace added.

You’re Shaming Me!

Stephanopoulos, who served as an advisor to former President Clinton, explained to her that the question wasn’t meant to shame her, but rather it was about Donald Trump. She replied, “No, you are shaming me.”

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Mace replied, saying it wasn’t a criminal court case. She also expressed disgust, stating Stephanopoulos was trying to shame her as a rape victim by asking about her political choices.

Carrol’s Comments After Verdict Not Okay

Mace went on, mentioning that E. Jean Carroll’s remarks after the judgment were not okay. She said it makes it tougher for women to come forward when rape is mocked or joked about.

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Mace added that Carroll had joked about it and she found it offensive. She also found it offensive that Stephanopoulos was attempting to shame her with the question.

Trump Not Guilty Of Rape

Mace highlighted that Trump hasn’t been proven guilty of rape in a criminal case. She also emphasized that Carroll joked about how she would spend the over $80 million judgment Trump was told to pay.

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Earlier this year, a jury decided Trump had to pay Carroll $83.3 million for defaming her in 2019 by denying her allegations of sexual assault in the mid-1990s.

What Is Trump Alleging In His Lawsuit?

In Trump’s complaint, he accuses Stephanopoulos of acting “with actual malice or with a reckless disregard for the truth.” Trump claims Stephanopoulos knows these statements are clearly false. To prove defamation of a public figure, Trump needs to show more than just the statement being wrong.

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He has to prove Stephanopoulos knew they were false or didn’t care if they were true. Additionally, he must also prove that Stephanopoulos damaged his reputation.

Was Trump Found Liable For Rape?

In May 2023, a jury in New York didn’t hold Trump responsible for rape, but they did find him responsible for sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll.

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However, in an August 2023 ruling, the judge stated that the sexual abuse Trump was found responsible for—forcing his fingers into Carroll during an assault in the mid-1990s—means “Mr. Trump did, in fact, ‘rape’ Ms. Carroll as the term is commonly understood.”

Why Did The Judge Say Trump “In Fact Did ‘Rape'” Carroll?

Carroll sued in November 2022 under New York State’s Adult Survivors Act, which allowed claims of sexual assault beyond the usual time limit of one year. Her case was filed in federal court but based on New York’s laws, which define rape more narrowly than federal law.

Source: X/ejeancarroll

The jury didn’t find evidence that Trump forcefully penetrated her with his penis, but they did find it likely that he sexually abused her by forcefully using his fingers.

Judge’s Interpretation Of Rape Allegations In Carroll v. Trump Case

In a ruling in July 2023, after the jury’s decision, Judge Kaplan stated that the finding of sexual abuse aligned with how many people understand the term “rape.” He referred to the Justice Department’s definition of rape, which includes any penetration of the vagina or anus without consent. Kaplan noted that the jury found Trump did exactly that.

Source: X/Travis_in_Flint

Source: X/Travis_in_Flint

In an order in August 2023, the judge went further, stating that Trump did indeed “rape” Ms. Carroll as the term is commonly understood.

Trump’s Previous Legal Actions Against The Media

Trump requested an unspecified amount of money for damages in the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Miami. ABC News has thus far refused to give a comment.

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This isn’t the first time Trump has sued media companies for defamation. He or his campaign tried to sue The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post, but didn’t succeed. Trump also tried to counter-sue Carroll for repeatedly accusing him of rape on cable news after the jury’s decision.

Failed Lawsuit Against New York Times

Trump, who often demonizes the media, has a history of filing baseless lawsuits against news organizations. He was recently ordered to pay $392,000 in lawyer fees to The New York Times for a failed lawsuit.

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One of Trump’s claims against the Times was that the journalists were liable for “tortious interference” by supposedly contacting his niece and causing her to break a settlement contract with the Trump family from 2001.

Social Media Reaction To Trump’s Lawsuit Against Stephanopoulos

Meanwhile on social media, many have shared their opinions on the issue. Ian Corzine wrote on X(formerly Twitter) that Trump’s defamation lawsuit against George Stephanopoulos appears to have a deeper motive beyond simply winning the case.

Source: X/OccupyDemocrats

While the lawsuit revolves around Stephanopoulos’s alleged statements regarding Trump’s involvement in rape, he claims that Trump’s real objective could be to uncover evidence of media bias.

Could Trump Have A Bigger Motive?

Corzine wrote that during the lawsuit, Trump can gain access to Stephanopoulos and ABC News’s private messages, like texts and emails. This could give Trump a chance to find statements that might discredit Stephanopoulos, ABC News, and maybe even other big media companies.

Source: X/online_shogun

Although winning the case would be good for Trump, the information he could find during the lawsuit could be even more valuable.