Eric Swalwell Gets Smacked Down by Fact Checkers After Trying to Gloat About Trump Verdict
What is it with Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell where he apparently needs a fact checker glued to his hip?
A fact checker would’ve come in handy before whatever purported tryst Swalwell embarked on with a suspected Chinese spy, and a fact checker would’ve been eminently useful before Swalwell took to Twitter to gloat about the outcome of a civil court case against former President Trump involving author E. Jean Carroll.
Only, Swalwell didn’t gloat about Trump being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation.
Swalwell used a Twitter post to make the demonstrably false claim that Trump had been “convicted,” and it was just the latest, shining example of the California congressman desperately needing someone to filter his urges.
The dubious tweet in question:
The party of a *convicted* sexual abuser.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell 🟧 (@RepSwalwell) May 9, 2023
“The party of a *convicted* sexual abuser,” Swalwell tweeted, clearly referring to Trump’s ongoing legal issues.
There’s just one, massive problem with that statement: Trump was not *convicted* of anything.
The former president was found liable for battery and defamation by a Manhattan federal jury on Tuesday, but wasn’t convicted of anything because it literally would’ve been impossible to do so.
Standards for verdicts in civil cases are very different from those in criminal cases, so language choice is important.
“Convicted” is simply not the correct term to use because convictions can only happen in criminal cases. And only after enough evidence has been presented to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In civil cases, the standard of proof to find someone “liable” is far less strict.
In fact, according to law site Justia, in most civil cases, the standard of proof the plaintiff presents is merely to convince the jury that whatever the plaintiff is accusing the defendant of is “more likely than not to have occurred.”
Many legal scholars actually adopt a “51 percent” rule when it comes to civil cases. That means that “finding that at least 51 percent of the evidence favors the plaintiff’s position” is good enough to satisfy the standard of proof in civil cases.
There’s a significant and marked difference between a criminal case and a civil case — the kind of difference you’d hope that a lawmaker for one of the most populous states in the country would be able to spot.
This all does raise the question: Is Swalwell just dumb? Or is he deliberately trying to feed a certain (false) narrative about Trump’s ongoing woes?
Regardless, Swalwell’s dumb and false statement was immediately hit with a Community Note on Twitter, and it’s one that should stick since, again, his statement is just demonstrably wrong.
Unsurprisingly, the comments below Swalwell’s tweet are a bloodbath (and largely grateful for the platform’s Community Notes).
“Just when I think you can’t stoop any lower,” one Twitter user wrote. “Thank you @CommunityNotes.”
Just when I think you can’t stoop any lower. Thank you @CommunityNotes pic.twitter.com/vbgbt0cMyZ
— Lynette Miller (@Netpetjet1st) May 10, 2023
“Swalwell is the last person who should criticize others of inappropriate sexual acts,” another user wrote, a clear reference to the aforementioned Chinese spy.
Swalwell is the last person who should criticize others of inappropriate sexual acts.
— Paul A. Szypula 🇺🇸 (@Bubblebathgirl) May 9, 2023
That’s one comment that doesn’t need a fact checker at all.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.