Trump sexually abused writer E Jean Carroll, must pay her $5 million: Jury
By Our Correspondent
Donald Trump must pay $5 million in damages for sexually abusing magazine writer E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s and then defaming her by branding her a liar, a jury decided on Tuesday.
“Today, the world finally knows the truth,” Carroll said in a statement. “This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.”
The former U.S. president, campaigning to retake the White House in 2024, will appeal, his lawyer Joseph Tacopina told reporters outside the Manhattan federal courthouse.
Carroll, 79, testified during the civil trial that Trump, 76, raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan in either 1995 or 1996, then harmed her reputation by writing in an October 2022 post on his Truth Social platform that her claims were a “complete con job,” “a hoax” and “a lie.”
Trump was absent throughout the trial which began on April 25. In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump called the verdict a “disgrace” and said, “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is.”
Because it was a civil case, Trump faces no criminal consequences and, as such, there was never a threat of prison.
The jury, required to reach a unanimous verdict, deliberated for just under three hours. Its six men and three women awarded Carroll $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages, but Trump will not have to pay so long as the case is on appeal.
In April, Trump gave election regulators only the rough estimates of his wealth that are required in financial disclosures, listing over a dozen properties as worth “over $50 million” each.
Trump mistakes Carroll for ex-wife?
Carroll testified that she bumped into Trump at Bergdorf’s and agreed to help him pick out a gift for another woman. The two looked at lingerie before he coaxed her into a dressing room, slammed her head into a wall, pulled down her tights and penetrated her, she testified. Carroll said she could not remember the precise date or year the alleged rape occurred.
Jurors were tasked with deciding whether Trump raped, sexually abused or forcibly touched Carroll, and were separately asked if Trump defamed Carroll. The jurors found Trump sexually abused her but not that he raped her.
Before the jurors began deliberating, Judge Lewis Kaplan defined rape for them as non-consensual “sexual intercourse” through “forcible compulsion.” He described sexual abuse as non-consensual “sexual contact” through forcible compulsion.
Jurors awarded Carroll $2 million in compensatory damages and $20,000 in punitive damages for her battery claim, and $2.7 million in compensatory and $280,000 in punitive damages for her defamation claim.
Trump’s legal team attacked the plausibility of Carroll’s account including why she had never reported the matter to police or screamed during the alleged incident.
Two of Carroll’s friends said that she told them about the alleged rape at the time but swore them to secrecy because she feared that Trump would use his fame and wealth to retaliate if she came forward.
Carroll told jurors she decided to break her silence in 2017 after rape allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein prompted scores of women to come forward with accounts of sexual violence by powerful men. She went public with her account while Trump was president.
She said Trump’s public denials wrecked her career and instigated a campaign of vicious online harassment by his supporters.
While Trump did not testify at the trial, a video clip from the October 2022 deposition showed him mistaking Carroll for one of his former wives in a black-and-white photo among several people at an event.
“It’s Marla,” Trump said in the deposition, referring to his second wife Marla Maples. Previously Trump had said he could not have raped Carroll because she was “not my type.”