The former president must give $5 million to Ms. Carroll. More than a dozen women have come forward to accuse Mr. Trump of s£xual misconduct, but only this civil case went to a jury.
E. Jean Carroll was given $5 million in damages by a Manhattan jury on Tuesday after it found former president Donald J. Trump responsible for s£xually assaulting and defaming her. Over the years, more than a dozen women have accused Mr. Trump of sexual misconduct, but only this claim has been supported by a jury.
The civil jury, made up of six men and three women, determined that Ms. Carroll, 79, a former magazine writer, had properly established that Mr. Trump had molested her in a Manhattan dressing room over 30 years prior. The incident occurred in a Bergdorf Goodman department shop. However, the jury did not determine that he had s£xually assaulted her as she had long alleged.
The jury ruled that Mr. Trump, who is seeking reelection as president, defamed Ms. Carroll in October when he issued a statement on his Truth Social platform labeling her case “a complete con job” and “a Hoax and a lie.” The jury reached its verdict soon before 3 p.m. His attorney stated that he planned to appeal.
No witnesses were called by Mr. Trump’s attorneys, and he never showed up at the trial to hear Ms. Carroll, who had sued him last year, give harrowing testimony about the assault she claimed had permanently terminated her love life.
The judgement was read out in court on Tuesday, and Ms. Carroll nodded as the clerk explained that Mr. Trump was responsible for the defamation. She and her attorney, Roberta A. Kaplan, left the courthouse holding hands and she was beaming from ear to ear. Ms. Carroll was yelled at by a woman who said, “You’re so brave and beautiful.” The reply from Ms. Carroll was “Thank you, thank you so much.”
In a later statement, she said: “I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back. Today, the world finally knows the truth. This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.”
For years, Mr. Trump had taken great pleasure in portraying himself as a man who could not be resisted by women. He did this by creating tabloid headlines like “Best S3x I’ve Ever Had,” making an appearance in the centerfold of a 1999 issue of Playboy magazine, and boasting on camera about how, as a celebrity, he could freely grab women’s genitalia. The jury has now classified him as an abuser rather than a lothario.
After less than three hours of discussion, it reached a unanimity on the decision. Because the findings are civil and not criminal, Mr. Trump has not been found guilty of a crime and is not sentenced to prison.
In a Truth Social post after the verdict, Mr. Trump continued to insist that he did not know Ms. Carroll: “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace — a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!”
Outside the courthouse, his attorney Joseph Tacopina announced that an appeal would be filed in the case. Additionally, he backed Mr. Trump’s decision to remain silent during his own defense and to leave the courtroom.
“This was a circus atmosphere, and having him be here would be more of a circus,” Mr. Tacopina said.
He mentioned how Ms. Carroll’s claim had been refuted by Mr. Trump in a video deposition that Ms. Carroll’s attorneys had aired for the jury. Additionally, he claimed that the “Access Hollywood” recording, in which Mr. Trump was heard talking indecently about grabbing women by the genitalia, should never have been shown to the jury by Ms. Carroll’s attorneys.
He also objected to the judge Lewis A. Kaplan’s choice to have an anonymous jury hear the case and keep their identities a secret from the attorneys.
“There were things that happened in this case that were beyond the pale,” said Mr. Tacopina, who also complained about what he said was “bias displayed by the court.”
Judge Kaplan and Mr. Tacopina occasionally disagreed, and Mr. Tacopina even filed a motion for a mistrial because of “pervasive, unfair, and prejudicial rulings” that included what he called the judge’s improperly upholding of Ms. Carroll’s attorneys’ objections that Mr. Tacopina’s questions were argumentative.
At one point, Judge Kaplan read aloud to Mr. Tacopina the definition of “an argumentative question” from Black’s Law Dictionary.
The judge gave the jury three possibilities during his instructions on Tuesday for finding Mr. Trump responsible for battery, or an assault on Ms. Carroll: that he had raped her, s3xually assaulted her, or forcibly touched her. The court indicated that a unanimous decision would confirm that Ms. Carroll had established that it was more likely than not true that he had committed a crime.
When asked to determine guilt in a criminal case, jurors must satisfy the far higher standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.