Court orders Trump to pay $83 million to E. Jean Carroll for defamation

The legal saga involving former President Donald J. Trump and writer E. Jean Carroll reached a pivotal moment as a Manhattan jury ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million to Carroll for defaming her in 2019. The defamation case stemmed from Carroll’s accusation that Trump sexually abused her decades ago, allegations that he vehemently denied and continued to assail through various channels, including social media posts and news conferences.

Manhattan Jury Orders Trump to Pay $83 Million in Defamation Case

Carroll’s legal team argued that a substantial award was necessary to curb Trump’s ongoing attacks against her. The jury, after less than three hours of deliberation, awarded Carroll $65 million in punitive damages, citing Trump’s actions as malicious. The decision reflected a recognition of the need to hold powerful figures accountable for their behavior, sending a message that the law applies to everyone, regardless of their fame or status.

In addition to the punitive damages, the jury awarded Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages for the suffering she endured. Trump’s legal team reacted with visible dismay as the substantial figures were read aloud in the courtroom. The verdict marked a significant victory for Carroll, an 80-year-old writer, who embraced her lawyers and left the courthouse with a sense of triumph, declaring the outcome as a win for every woman standing up against bullying.

trump and E. Jean Carroll

Legal Blow for Trump

Trump, who had left the courtroom before the verdict, took to his Truth Social website to denounce the decision as “absolutely ridiculous.” He criticized the legal system, alleging political motivations and claiming a violation of his First Amendment rights. Notably, he refrained from directly attacking Carroll in his post.

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Outside the courthouse, Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, expressed dissatisfaction with how Judge Lewis A. Kaplan had handled the case. Combining complaints about the judicial process with Trump’s narrative of victimization, she pledged to appeal, emphasizing the determination to overturn the verdict.

Defamation Drama

The prospect of an appeal raises questions about the timeline for Carroll to receive the awarded sum. Trump’s legal battles extend beyond this defamation case, as he awaits the outcome of a civil fraud trial initiated by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James. James has sought a penalty of around $370 million against Trump. Additionally, Trump faces four criminal indictments, with at least one trial expected before the November election.

The courtroom drama unfolded over five days, marked by clashes between Trump’s legal team and Judge Kaplan, known for his command of the courtroom. Trump’s testimony, highly anticipated, turned out to be brief, lasting less than five minutes. Throughout the trial, he continued to attack Carroll online and even insulted her during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, leading to warnings from the judge.

Legal Battles Continue

Carroll testified about the repercussions of Trump’s taunts, stating that his actions had mobilized his supporters, resulting in social media attacks that left her frightened and damaged her reputation as an advice columnist for Elle magazine. The trial provided a platform for Carroll’s lawyers, Roberta A. Kaplan and Shawn G. Crowley, to use Trump’s courtroom presence against him, arguing that his behavior demonstrated a belief in impunity.

The verdict served as a coda to a period of political success for Trump, who secured wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, solidifying his position as the likely Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election. Trump strategically incorporated his courtroom appearances into his political campaign, portraying himself as a political martyr targeted by Democratic officials and Carroll.

Carroll Triumphs: Jury Sends Message with $83 Million Award Against Trump

Despite the defeat in the defamation case, Trump’s legal battles are far from over. The significant financial implications of the verdict add to the legal challenges he faces. The jury’s decision reflects a broader societal sentiment that no one, regardless of their wealth or fame, is above the law. The award aims to compensate Carroll for the emotional harm inflicted by Trump’s relentless attacks and to discourage further malicious conduct by making it financially burdensome.

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In their closing arguments, Carroll’s lawyers urged the jury to consider Trump’s wealth in determining punitive damages. They cited a video deposition where Trump estimated the value of his brand and real estate properties, emphasizing that he could afford substantial penalties. The verdict aligns with this plea, holding Trump accountable not only for his conduct but also for the financial consequences of his actions.

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