E. Jean Carroll Defamation Trial: Find Out What Happened

A Manhattan jury on Friday ruled that former President Donald J. Trump must pay writer E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million for defaming her in 2019 after she accused him of rape dating back decades. Trump persisted in her attacks on social media, at press conferences, and even during the trial.

The attorneys representing Ms. Carroll had contended that in order to prevent Mr. Trump from going after her, a sizable award was required. Following less than three hours of discussion, the jury decided that Mr. Trump had acted maliciously and retaliated by giving Ms. Carroll $65 million in punitive damages. He mockingly posted almost 40 times about Ms. Carroll on his Truth Social page in one day.

Just after 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Mr. Trump had already left the courtroom for the day when Lewis A. Kaplan, the judge, summoned in the nine-member jury and told the attorneys, “We will have no outbursts.” Nine minutes later, the courtroom fell silent as the verdict was read.

Jurors granted Ms. Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages for her suffering in addition to the $65 million. As the cash amounts were read out loud, Mr. Trump’s attorneys sagged in their chairs. Following the jury’s dismissal, 80-year-old Ms. Carroll hugged her attorneys. She grinned for the cameras as she left the courtroom a few minutes later, arm in arm with her legal team.

In a statement, Ms. Carroll thanked her attorneys profusely and stated, “This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down.”

In a Truth Social post, Mr. Trump, who had previously left the courthouse during the final argument made by Ms. Carroll’s attorney, declared the decision to be “absolutely ridiculous.”

He threatened to file an appeal, saying, “Our Legal System is out of control and being used as a Political Weapon.” “Every First Amendment right has been taken away by them.”

He did not, remarkably, attack Ms. Carroll.

Alina Habba, the attorney for Mr. Trump, coupled sloganeering outside the courthouse with concerns about Judge Kaplan’s handling of the case. This was done in response to Mr. Trump’s assertions that he was being mistreated by an unjust system. She assured reporters, “We did not win today, but we will win.”

The ruling “proves that the law applies to everyone in our country, even the rich, even the famous, even former presidents,” according to Ms. Carroll’s main attorney, Roberta A. Kaplan.

The verdict much outweighed the $5 million that Ms. Carroll received from a different jury this spring, which was based on allegations that Mr. Trump had molested her in a Truth Social post in October 2022 and had sexually assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s. The decision was made following Mr. Trump’s almost daily attendance at the most recent trial and his brief testimony this week.

Judge Kaplan, who oversaw both trials, had decided that the second jury’s emphasis would be limited to damages and that the jury’s conclusions from last May would apply to this one as well. In his testimony, Mr. Trump—who is vying for president once more—was not permitted to veer from that subject. Ahead to the jury’s arrival on Thursday, the court requested Ms. Habba to provide an overview of her testimony. The judge declared, “I want to know everything he is going to say.”

Ultimately, Mr. Trump was his own greatest adversary based on his words and deeds. He ridiculed Ms. Carroll during a campaign appearance in New Hampshire last week and attacked her online during the trial. The judge informed Mr. Trump within the courtroom that he might be excluded after Ms. Carroll’s lawyers complained that he was muttering “con job” and “witch hunt” loudly enough for jurors to hear.

Shawn G. Crowley and Ms. Kaplan, Ms. Carroll’s attorneys, used Mr. Trump’s appearance in court as a weapon against him during their final statements on Friday. According to Ms. Crowley, his behavior showed that he thought he could get away with doing anything, even carrying on with his defamation of Ms. Carroll.

Ms. Crowley stated, “You saw how he has behaved throughout this trial.” “You caught him. You seen him get to his feet and leave this courtroom as Ms. Kaplan was speaking. There are no rules for Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump may suffer other financial setbacks in the future. He is currently awaiting the verdict in a civil fraud trial that was held this month and was brought by the attorney general of New York. Letitia James, the attorney general, has requested a judge to levy a penalty of about $370 million on Mr. Trump.

In addition, the former president faces four criminal indictments, at least one of which is anticipated to go to trial before to the election in November. Although he will soon be finished with his civil proceedings, the larger threat—91 felony charges total—remains.

The Friday ruling served as Mr. Trump’s capstone following two weeks of electoral triumph. After winning the first two states to submit presidential nominations in 2024—Iowa and New Hampshire—he solidified his status as the front-runner for the Republican nomination.

He has made extensive use of his court appearances as a cornerstone of his campaign, portraying himself as a political martyr who is being pursued by Ms. Carroll and Democratic law enforcement authorities on all fronts. Her loss of him will most likely likely sting for some time.

Ms. Carroll said throughout the trial that many of Mr. Trump’s fans had been mobilized as a result of his frequent taunting and outbursts. She said that she had experienced a barrage of insults on social media and in her email inbox, which alarmed her and “shattered” her standing as an esteemed Elle magazine advice writer.

Ms. Carroll disclosed before the jury that she had received threats on Facebook and Twitter. She remarked, “I was living in a new universe.”

Judge Kaplan, who is renowned for his mastery of the courtroom, and Mr. Trump’s attorneys engaged in many altercations during the trial, which lasted for around five days over the course of two weeks. Days had passed since the former president was expected to testify, but on Thursday, he spent less than five minutes in the witness chair, and what little he said was noteworthy.

Not related to the judge, Ms. Kaplan asked the jury on Friday in a clear and concise summary to give Ms. Carroll enough money to help her rebuild her image and make up for the emotional damage that Mr. Trump’s assaults had caused.

Additionally, Ms. Kaplan stressed that Mr. Trump could afford hefty punitive damages, which are awarded when a defendant is believed to have acted in a particularly cruel manner. She referenced a portion of his video deposition that was shown to the jury, in which he said that the value of his real estate holdings was $14 billion and that his brand alone was worth “maybe $10 billion.”

Ms. Kaplan informed the jury that Donald Trump possesses billions of dollars in wealth.

“It is legal to take into account Donald Trump’s wealth in addition to his ongoing malicious and spiteful behavior when making that determination,” Ms. Kaplan stated. “This is the moment to hold him accountable, and this is the moment to hold him accountable severely.”

Mr. Trump wasn’t there to listen to her. Mr. Trump got up from the defense table and turned to leave the 26th-floor courtroom without saying anything during the first few minutes of Ms. Kaplan’s closing argument. He had been scoffing, grumbling, and shaking his head the entire time. Ms. Kaplan kept talking to the jury as though the egregious display of disrespect had never happened.

Judge Kaplan stated, “The record will reflect that Mr. Trump simply got up and left the courtroom.”

After almost 75 minutes, Mr. Trump made his way back, and his attorney, Ms. Habba, started summarizing.

When Ms. Carroll first made her accusations against Mr. Trump in a 2019 book excerpt published in New York magazine about an experience she claims scarred her for decades, Mr. Trump’s attorneys painted her as a fame-hungry writer attempting to boost a dwindling career.

Speaking in a loud, heavy voice and using a mocking, sarcastic tone, Ms. Habba said that Ms. Carroll’s image had not been harmed by the president’s remarks but had instead improved. Furthermore, she noted that Ms. Carroll’s attorneys had not demonstrated that the writer’s torrent of threats and slanderous remarks were a reaction to Mr. Trump’s remarks.

Ms. Habba angrily said, “There is no causality,” adding that President Trump has no more influence on the emotions and ideas of social media users than he has over the weather.

In an impassioned and enthusiastic response, Ms. Crowley refuted Ms. Habba’s argument that Ms. Carroll did not receive threats as a result of Mr. Trump’s remarks. Ms. Crowley declared, “There could not be clearer proof of causation.”

Throughout the final statements, the jury paid close attention. Throughout the majority of Ms. Kaplan’s conclusion, one person paid close attention to her; others alternated between focusing on the attorneys, the exhibits on the screens, and taking notes.

During the summations, Mr. Trump posted almost sixteen times in fifteen minutes on his Truth Social account, primarily criticizing Judge Kaplan and Ms. Carroll with his well-known comments, which are now extremely costly.

During her final remarks, Ms. Kaplan stated that the only thing that might stop Mr. Trump from attacking would be if it became too costly for him to carry on.

It seems from the jury’s verdict that they agreed.

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