Trump ordered to pay $83.3 million to writer who accused him of rape

A Manhattan jury on Friday ordered former U.S. President Donald Trump to pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll, a writer who accused him of raping her and ruining her reputation as a credible journalist by denying it.

A Manhattan jury on Friday ordered former U.S. President Donald Trump to pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll, a writer who accused him of raping her and ruining her reputation as a credible journalist by denying it.

The verdict came after a five-day trial in Manhattan federal court, where the jury deliberated for less than three hours. The amount of damages awarded to Carroll was much higher than the $10 million she had asked for. Trump said he would appeal the decision.

Carroll’s lawsuit has become a factor in Trump’s bid to return to the White House in the November U.S. election. He is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination to challenge the incumbent Democrat, Joe Biden, who defeated him in 2020.

Trump was present for most of the trial, but not when the verdict was announced. He denounced the outcome on social media, saying: “Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!”

Carroll, 80, hugged her lawyers as she left the courthouse. She said in a statement: “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.”

Carroll, a former columnist for Elle magazine, sued Trump in November 2019 over his statements in June that year that he had never met her and that she had fabricated her claim that he had raped her in a dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodman store in Manhattan in the mid-1990s.

She said his denials damaged her reputation as a journalist who valued the truth. The jury, composed of seven men and two women whose identities were not disclosed, awarded Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages, including $11 million for the harm to her reputation. They also awarded her $65 million in punitive damages, which she said were necessary to prevent Trump from defaming her further.

Trump, 77, insisted that he did not know Carroll, and that she had made up her story to sell her memoir. His lawyers argued that Carroll was seeking fame and enjoyed the support from those who opposed Trump.

In May 2023, another jury found Trump liable for defamation and sexual assault against Carroll, and ordered him to pay her $5 million over a similar denial he made in October 2022. Trump is appealing that verdict, and has deposited $5.55 million with the Manhattan court pending the appeal. Both appeals could take years.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over both trials, said the first verdict applied to the second trial, including the finding that Trump had penetrated Carroll’s vagina with his fingers. The only question for the second jury was how much Trump should pay.

Alina Habba, who headed Trump’s defense team in Carroll’s case, said the verdict was influenced by politics, and expressed confidence that Trump’s appeal would be successful.

She told reporters: “President Trump is leading in the polls, and now we see what you get in New York. It will not deter us, we will keep fighting, and I assure you we didn’t win today, but we will win.”

Trump walked out of the courtroom during the closing argument of Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, but came back for Habba’s closing argument. He has portrayed himself as the target of politically motivated lies and a corrupt, unfair judicial system.

Trump is also facing four criminal cases, in which he has pleaded not guilty to 91 felony charges, including two cases that allege he tried to illegally overturn his 2020 election defeat.

He is also waiting for a ruling, possibly this month, from a New York judge on how much he should pay in a $370 million civil fraud lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Letitia James against him and his Trump Organization.

During the Carroll trial, Trump was heard saying that the case was a “con job” and “witch hunt” and that he still did not know who Carroll was, which led the judge to warn him twice to be quiet.

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