Trump must pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll in a defamation case, jury says

(Elizabeth Williams/Associated Press)

Trump must pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll in a defamation case, jury says


January 26, 2024

A jury has awarded another $83.3 million to former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who says former President Trump damaged her reputation by calling her a liar after she accused him of sexual assault.

Friday’s verdict marked the second time in nine months that a jury focused on Carroll’s claim that Trump assaulted her in a New York City department store in 1996. Another jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse last May and ordered him to pay $5 million. This defamation lawsuit was over things Trump said about Carroll while he was president. Trump continues to maintain that he was falsely accused.

The verdict was handed down Friday by a jury of seven men and two women in a trial regularly attended by Trump, who abruptly left the courtroom Friday during closing arguments by a Carroll attorney before returning to hear his own lawyers close and complete the rebuttal argument from another Carroll attorney. He remained in place to also hear the jury’s instructions to the jury.

It was the second time in nine months that a jury returned a verdict on Carroll’s claim that a flirtatious, chance meeting with Trump in 1996 at a Bergdorf Goodman store ended violently. She said Trump slammed her against a dressing room wall, pulled down her panties and forced himself on her.

In May, another jury awarded Carroll $5 million. It ruled that Trump was not liable for rape, but was liable for sexually assaulting Carroll and then defaming her by claiming she had made it up.

Trump skipped the first trial. He later expressed regret at not attending and insisted on being tested at the second trial, although the judge limited what he could say and ruled he had missed his chance to claim his innocence. He spent just a few minutes on the witness stand Thursday, denying that he assaulted Carroll, and then left the court grumbling: This isn’t America.

This new jury was asked only how much Trump, 77, should pay Carroll, 80, for two statements he made as president while answering questions from reporters after excerpts from Carroll’s memoir were published in a magazine on damages that could not previously be reported. decided due to legal appeals. . Jurors were not asked to rule again on whether the sex attack actually occurred.

Carroll’s lawyers had sought $24 million in compensatory damages and an unusually high sentence.

Her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, urged jurors in her closing arguments Friday to punish Trump sufficiently so that he would stop a steady stream of public statements labeling Carroll a liar and an idiot.

Trump shook his head vigorously as Kaplan spoke, then suddenly stood up and walked outside, taking Secret Service agents with him. His departure came just minutes after the judge, without the jury present, threatened to send Trump attorney Alina Habba to jail for continuing to talk when he told her she was done.

You’re about to spend some time in jail. Now sit down, the judge told Habba, who immediately complied.

The trial reached its conclusion as Trump marched toward winning the Republican presidential nomination for the third time in a row. He has tried to turn his various lawsuits and legal vulnerabilities into an advantage, portraying them as evidence of a weaponized political system.

While there is no evidence that President Joe Biden or anyone else in the White House influenced the lawsuits against him, Trump’s argument has resonated with his most loyal supporters, who view the proceedings with skepticism.

Carroll testified early in the trial that Trump’s public statements had led to death threats.

He ruined my reputation, she said. I’m here to get my reputation back and stop him from telling lies about me.

She said she had an electronic fence installed around the cabin in upstate New York where she lives, warned neighbors about the threats and bought bullets for a gun she keeps next to her bed.

Previously, I was known simply as a journalist and had a column, and now I’m known as the liar, the fraudster and the asshole, Carroll testified.

Trump’s attorney, Habba, told jurors that Carroll had been enriched by her accusations against Trump and had gained the fame she craved. She said there was no question of damages.

In support of Carroll’s request for millions in damages, Northwestern University sociologist Ashlee Humphreys told the jury that Trump’s 2019 statements caused between $7.2 million and $12.1 million in damage to Carroll’s reputation.

When Trump finally took a test, Kaplan gave him little room to maneuver because Trump was not allowed to try to revive the issues resolved in the first trial.

It’s a very well-established legal principle in this country that prevents takeovers by disappointed litigants, Kaplan said.

He has lost it and he is bound. And the jury will be instructed that no matter what he says here in court today, he did it, as far as they’re concerned. That’s the law, Kaplan said shortly before Trump was tested.

After vowing to tell the truth, Trump was asked if he supported a statement calling Carroll a liar and an asshole. He replied: 100 percent. Yes.

When asked if he denied the allegation because Carroll had made an accusation, he replied: That’s exactly right. She said something, I consider it a false accusation. When asked if he ever told anyone to hurt Carroll, he replied: No. I wanted to defend myself, my family and, quite frankly, the presidency.

The judge ordered the jury to ignore the comment about the false accusation and anything Trump said after “No” to the last question.

Earlier in the trial, Trump tested the judges’ tolerance. When he complained to his lawyers about a witch hunt and a scam within earshot of the jurors, Kaplan threatened to throw him out of the courtroom if it happened again. “I would love it,” Trump said. Later that day, Trump told a news conference that Kaplan was an annoying judge.


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