Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $5 million in damages after a jury found he sexually abused – but did not rape – writer E Jean Carroll.
The ex-US President, 76, had been accused of the sexual assault of Ms Carroll, 79, at a department store and the subsequent defamation of the writer by saying she had made up her claim, and the verdict was read out at a federal court in New York City on Tuesday. (09.05.23)
A jury of six men and three women spent seven hours deciding the civil claims of battery and defamation in the case and also found Trump defamed Ms Carroll in an October 2022 social media post in which he called her allegations a “con job”.
The jury told Trump to pay a total of $5 million in damages – $2 million for the battery claim and $20,000 in punitive damages, and for defamation, $2.7 million in compensation and $280,000 in punitive damages.
Ms Carroll is one of more than a dozen women who accused Trump of sexual assault or harassment and she went public in 2019 with her claim he raped her in the dressing room of an upmarket Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s.
Trump, who did not attend the trial, insisted he never sexually assaulted Ms Carroll or knew her.
His lawyer Joe Tacopina said in closing arguments the story had been fabricated to hike sales of Ms Carroll’s 2019 autobiography, while her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, cited as evidence Trump’s infamous comments from a 2005 video in which he declared celebrities can grab women’s privates without permission.
Ms Kaplan said: "(Trump) didn't even bother to show up here in person… in a very real sense, Donald Trump is a witness against himself.
“He knows what he did. He knows that he sexually assaulted E Jean Carroll.”
Ms Carroll sued for battery under the Adult Survivors Act – a law passed in New York that allowed a one year window for sexual assault claims normally outside of the statute of limitations.
Her claim for defamation was based on statements made by Trump, when he was President and posts to his Truth Social platform that he used to brand her a liar.
The case saw the jury spent two weeks hearing emotional testimony from three accusers and two of Ms Carroll’s friends.
Ms Carroll said Trump had “shut the door and shoved me against the wall” at the department store.
She added in court: “I pushed him back, and he thrust me back against the wall, banging my head.
“He put his shoulder against me and held me against the wall.”
The writer added even though she couldn’t see Trump as he penetrated her, she could “certainly feel that pain”.
She added that after fighting him off, she ran outside and called a friend, the journalist Lisa Birnbach, who told her to go to the police.
But she kept quiet for 20 years until 2019 when Trump had become President and she wrote a memoir publicly accusing him for the first time.