- - Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Someone threw Donald Trump a little chin music.

If the presidential race were a baseball game and liberal New York billionaire were batting, he would be on the ground, picking himself up, after receiving a high and tight fastball. In baseball, high and tight fastballs are a message from a pitcher to a batter. Last week, someone sent Mr. Trump a message with all of the subtlety of a horse’s head in his bed.

Last week in California, a woman named Katie Johnson filed a lawsuit against Mr. Trump. The suit alleges that in 1994, Mr. Trump and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein raped her while she was being forced to serve as a sex slave for Epstein. The complaint also claims that Mr. Trump raped her on three occasions.

Mr. Trump immediately denied the allegations as soon as they were made public.

But this was not simply a lawsuit. This was a message to Mr. Trump.

The woman who filed the lawsuit immediately disappeared. According to various media reports, the phone number on the complaint has been disconnected and the address listed for her is a vacant home.

Ms. Johnson filed the lawsuit pro se, meaning she did it herself, without a lawyer. For someone who presumably has no legal training, the lawsuit is fairly well-written. She claims Mr. Trump and Epstein violated her civil rights. Then she throws in an allegation that Mr. Trump violated 18 U.S.C 2241. This is the federal statute on aggravated sexual assault.

This is the point where the lawsuit gets very interesting.

Aggravated sexual assault is a criminal offense. In civil litigation, the plaintiff can cite a criminal statute as the basis of wrong doing by the civil defendant. But there is something even more significant here.

Most criminal offenses under the United States Code have a statute of limitations of five years. 18 U.S.C. 2241 does not. It has no statute of limitations. In plain, non-lawyer English, that means someone can be prosecuted for this offense as long as they live.

There is the message for Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump has said he would raise issues against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, if he is the nominee, including former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities and the Clinton email scandal. The evidence that is publicly available strongly shows that Mrs. Clinton violated several criminal statutes. Conservatives are demanding the Justice Department investigate and indict.

This message to Mr. Trump is simple and blunt. If something happens to Mrs. Clinton, something can happen to you.

This is a message for the GOP as well. The Republican Party could be on the verge of selecting the most flawed nominee it has ever chosen. Mr. Trump’s negatives are so strong, Republicans are already looking at the down ballot carnage, wondering how they could possibly survive.

Who sent this message to Mr. Trump?

Who knows?

Who benefits? Clearly the Democrats and the Clintons.

Would they do something like that?

Of course they would.

Who is Ms. Johnson? That is a mystery that may never be solved. But the GOP should be grateful for this lawsuit. It gives them the last clear chance to avoid a Trump nomination. This is a warning to the Republican Party and an opportunity to avoid a complete disaster this fall.

Because, if Mr. Trump is the Republican nominee, this lawsuit will be simply a minor distraction as the Democrats thoroughly destroy him and the Republican Party.

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