E. Jean Carroll may sue Trump for defamation again after CNN town hall: What we know
The former president mocked the author on live television a day after a jury found him liable for sexually abusing and defaming her.
E. Jean Carroll is considering whether to file a new defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump in the wake of his diatribe mocking her during a controversial CNN town hall earlier this week.
Carroll’s lawyer told the New York Times on Thursday that her client is considering suing Trump again over his comments at the town hall the day before. The former president lashed out, calling Carroll a “wack job” and the civil trial — in which a jury found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation — a “rigged deal.”
What did Trump say about Carroll at the town hall, exactly?
At a town hall with likely Republican voters in Manchester, N.H., which was hosted by CNN and broadcast live in primetime on Wednesday, Trump was asked by moderator Kaitlan Collins to respond to Tuesday's verdict against him.
Trump stood by his assertion that he "never met" and "never saw" Carroll, even while conceding that he took a picture with her and her former husband, who he said he felt sorry for.
“I have no idea who the hell she is. I don't know who this woman is,” Trump said. “I swear on my children, which I never do. I have no idea who this woman — this is a fake story, made-up story.”
He added: “She's a wack job.”
How did she respond?
“It’s just stupid, it’s just disgusting, vile, foul, it wounds people,” Carroll told the New York Times on Thursday, adding that she had been “insulted by better people.”
Carroll, who did not watch the town hall, said she learned of Trump’s comments from her longtime stylist, who said her 15-year-old son was talking about what the former president had said on television.
“I am upset on the behalf of young men in America,” Carroll said. “They cannot listen to this balderdash and this old-timey view of women, which is a caveman view.”
What happened during the trial?
Trump’s town hall comments came the day after a Manhattan jury found him liable for sexually abusing Carroll in the mid-1990s in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman department store and also for defaming her on his Truth Social platform.
The jury, made up of six men and three women, took less than three hours to reach a unanimous verdict, awarding Carroll a total of $5 million in damages. The jury also found that Carroll’s attorneys did not prove that Trump raped her.
The former president did not testify during the nine-day trial, and his lawyers did not present a defense.
During the trial's first three days, Carroll described in painstaking and at times graphic detail her recollection of the alleged assault, and pushed back on attempts by Trump’s attorneys to undermine her credibility.
Two other women also testified about alleged assaults by Trump. Jessica Leeds, a retired stockbroker, testified that he kissed and groped her without her consent during a flight to New York in 1979. And former People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff told jurors she was interviewing Trump and his wife, Melania, at their Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in 2005 when Trump led her into an empty room and forcefully kissed her.
Carroll sued Trump under the Adult Survivors Act, a New York state law passed late last year, which gave adult victims of sexual assault and abuse one year to bring lawsuits against their alleged perpetrators, regardless of when the alleged abuse took place.
While Carroll considers filing a new suit against Trump, a separate defamation case that was put on hold while her initial suit was argued is still pending. That one involves comments Trump made about Carroll in 2019, while he was in the White House. His lawyers have argued that he cannot be sued because he made those comments in his official capacity as president.
Meanwhile, Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina filed a notice Thursday saying the former president intends to appeal the jury’s verdict.