Trump asked to pay $83 million to E Jean Carroll in sex assault defamation

In a landmark decision that reverberated through the corridors of justice, a New York jury on Friday mandated former President Donald Trump to pay a staggering $83.3 million to E Jean Carroll. The verdict comes as a resolution to the high-profile case where Trump was found guilty of sexually assaulting and defaming the writer.
A verdict beyond expectations
The courtroom, charged with palpable tension, witnessed an audible gasp as the civil order was announced, surpassing Carroll’s initial claim for over $10 million in defamation damages.
The staggering sum comprises $65 million in punitive damages for Trump’s malicious public commentary, $7.3 million for actual harm, and an additional $11 million earmarked for Carroll’s reputational rehabilitation.
The decision was reached swiftly after less than three hours of deliberation, highlighting the jury’s decisiveness in the matter.
Carroll, 80, clutched her lawyers’ hands and smiled as the seven-man, two-woman anonymous jury delivered its verdict. Minutes later, she shared a weepy three-way hug with her attorneys.
Carroll, standing firm in her resolve, hailed the verdict as a monumental victory for women’s rights and a definitive blow to oppressive forces. “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 remarked, encapsulating the sentiment of the trial.
The case and trial
Carroll, previously penning advice for Elle magazine, initiated legal action against Trump in late 2019. She contended that Trump, five months prior, had vehemently denied her allegations of a sexual assault dating back to the mid-90s, purportedly occurring in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room.
In her testimony, Carroll lamented that Trump’s vehement rejections had tarnished her credibility as a journalist committed to truth.
A discreetly anonymous jury, composed of seven men and two women, handed Carroll $18.3 million for compensatory reasons, pinpointing $11 million for the reputational damage incurred. Furthermore, a hefty $65 million in punitive damages was levied, aimed at curtailing Trump’s alleged continued defamatory actions.
Trump staunchly asserted his unfamiliarity with Carroll, suggesting her accusations were a ploy for memoir publicity.
Trump’s legal team portrayed Carroll as craving the limelight, reveling in the support she received for challenging Trump.
A parallel jury in May 2023 found Trump liable for defamation and sexual abuse, resulting in a $5 million penalty over a denial issued in October 2022. Trump, contesting this outcome, has secured $5.55 million with the Manhattan court for the appellate process, signaling a potentially prolonged legal battle.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, the authority over both trials, affirmed the continuity of the earlier verdict into the subsequent trial, necessitating the jury to solely ascertain the financial extent of Trump’s liability.
Trump’s reaction
Trump, known for his immediate and vehement rebuttals, did not hold back. Branding the verdict as “ridiculous,” he vehemently criticized the judgment and vowed to challenge the decision, stating his intent to appeal.
“Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon,” Trump said.
Alina Habba, who led Trump’s defense in Carroll’s case, cast Friday’s verdict in political terms, and predicted Trump’s appeal will succeed.
“President Trump is leading in the polls, and now we see what you get in New York,” Habba told reporters. “It will not deter us, we will keep fighting, and I assure you we didn’t win today, but we will win.”
The verdict intertwines with Trump’s political narrative, as he leverages his legal challenges to fortify his image as a victim of a biased system, a sentiment echoed by his remaining primary contender, Nikki Haley.
Legal experts weigh in
Legal pundits, analyzing the trial’s proceedings and outcome, pointed to Trump’s behavior during the trial as a potential factor in the jury’s decision. Carl Tobias, a law professor, noted, “His egregious misbehavior during the trial could actually have alienated the jury.” He also expressed skepticism about Trump’s chances on appeal, citing the judiciary’s respect for Judge Lewis Kaplan’s experience and competence.
The case against Trump is not isolated. He faces multiple criminal cases, including allegations of attempting to overthrow the 2020 presidential election results and a civil business fraud case. These legal battles, coupled with the recent verdict, paint a complex and challenging legal landscape for the former president.
As the dust settles on this high-stakes legal showdown, the implications of the jury’s decision resonate far beyond the courtroom, marking a significant chapter in the annals of legal history.
(With inputs from agencies)

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