The presumption of innocence applies to everyone, even Donald Trump

James Deagle
4 min readNov 13, 2021

A recent article in Business Insider does much to betray the moral panic that has characterized media coverage of Donald Trump since that fateful day in 2015 when he announced his candidacy.

In his November 13 piece, Trump took a victory lap after a woman who accused him of sexual assault dropped her defamation lawsuit against him, Thomas Colson writes in response to a statement by Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington in the wake of former The Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos having dropped her defamation suit against Trump:

She also claimed, falsely, that the development meant that Trump was “totally vindicated.”

Though Zervos’ allegation is no longer due to be tested in court, the absence of a case does not prove Trump’s innocence.

The trick Colson is playing here is in implying that innocence is something that needs to be proven, when in reality the onus is always on the accuser to prove the defendant’s guilt in the court room. Even if a trial concludes in a defendant’s favor, they’re never proven innocent, but rather they are found not guilty, and continue to be presumed innocent in the eyes of the law. As far as I know, it is never a court’s duty to vindicate anyone, but rather to determine whether guilt can be shown beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt.

As for whether or not Trump has been “totally vindicated” in any actual sense (legal or otherwise), consider that his accuser waited until the statute of limitations had elapsed before going public in 2016 with her allegations of sexual assaults that supposedly occurred in 2007. Assuming for a moment that Zervos’ allegations of sexual assault are valid, then she would have put other women at risk of sexual assault by keeping her accusations to herself until nine years later, when the allegations could earn her that much more publicity and potentially affect the outcome of a presidential election. If her allegations are true, by default she would have made herself a potential accomplice to further sexual assaults by her silence.

(Even genuine victims of sexual assault aren’t exempt from personal…