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Jury says Trump must pay E. Jean Carroll $5 million for sexual abuse and defamation

10.05.23 13:27
A civil jury on Tuesday found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing the writer E. Jean Carroll at a New York department store in the 1990s, and for defaming her last fall when he denied her claim.

The jury of six men and three women also ordered Trump to pay Carroll a total of $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages after deliberating less than three hours in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Jurors notably did not find Trump liable for rape, the most serious allegation Carroll made in a lawsuit filed last year.

But their verdict that he sexually abused and forcibly touched her without her consent during a chance encounter in the Bergdorf Goodman store substantiated her civil claim of battery. Trial in the case began on April 25.

“I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back,” Carroll, 79, said in a statement Tuesday.

“Today, the world finally knows the truth,” said Carroll, a former “Elle” magazine advice columnist and biographer of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

“This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.”

Her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, in her own statement, said, “No one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States.”

“For far too long, survivors of sexual assault faced a wall of doubt and intimidation,” Kaplan added. We hope and believe today’s verdict will be an important step in tearing that wall down.”

Trump, who neither testified at trial nor ever appeared in court, blasted the verdict in a post on Truth Social, his social media site.

“I have absolutely no idea who this woman is,” the 76-year-old Trump wrote. “This verdict is a disgrace.”

His lawyer Joseph Tacopina told CNBC, “Her claim was that she was raped and the jury rejected it. Perplexing to say the least.”

“Obviously we will be appealing,” said Tacopina.

He noted that Judge Lewis Kaplan, the trial judge who is not related to Roberta Kaplan, last year had a key ruling overturned by a federal appeals court in another, similar pending lawsuit by Carroll against Trump.

“We expect it to happen again,” the attorney said.

The other lawsuit alleges Trump defamed Carroll when she went public with her claim of rape in a 2019 New York magazine article.

At the time, Trump was president, and questions about whether he can be held liable for defamatory statements while serving in that official position have for years effectively stalled that case.

The trial’s result Tuesday is the latest — but possibly not the last — legal blow against Trump, who leads early polls for the 2024 GOP nomination.

In late March he was indicted by a Manhattan state Supreme Court grand jury on nearly three dozen counts of falsifying business records in connection with a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Trump also faces pending federal criminal investigations related to his efforts to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election, and to his failure to surrender government documents when he left the White House in early 2021.

And he faces possible indictment by a Georgia grand jury this summer for his attempt to get officials in that state to reverse President Joe Biden’s victory there in the 2020 election.

Georgia was one of several swing states that gave Biden his margin of victory in the Electoral College, CNBC reports.