Donald Trump Found Liable for Sexual Abuse of E. Jean Carroll, Ordered to Pay $5 Million
Trigger Warning: This article contains themes of child abuse that some readers may find distressing.
A federal New York jury found Donald Trump guilty of sexually assaulting columnist E. Jean Carroll in a New York department store changing room 27 years ago, on Tuesday, May 9. The jury, however, unanimously denied the writer's allegations that the former US President raped her, as per The U.S. Sun. Trump did not attend the civil trial and was also missing when the judgment was read.
The nine-person jury deliberated for less than three hours and announced their judgment at 3 PM. It did not find that Donald Trump raped Carroll but did find him accountable for sexual abuse. According to Forbes, the magazine columnist Carroll was reportedly awarded $2 million in damages for sexual abuse and approximately $3 million for defamation based on Trump’s social media posts rejecting the meeting with Carroll. The ruling of this case is the first time Trump has encountered legal consequences over sexual misconduct allegations that date back decades involving a dozen women.
Just before the judgment, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan cautioned the courtroom: “No shouting. No jumping up and down. No race for the door.” In closing arguments, Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina argued that the alleged rape did not take place and it was a fabricated account with political justifications. Tacopina questioned the jury if they “believe the unbelievable,” claiming Carroll would have reported the rape—which the columnist claims happened about in the 1990s—directly after it occurred.
Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan reminded the panel of nine jurors that for the battery charge, "all you need is that it is more probable than not" that Trump slammed Carroll to find him liable. According to CBS News, this is a considerably lower benchmark than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" criterion used in criminal trials.
After the final statements, the verdict was announced. Carroll's lawyers celebrated the victory, and she was seen embracing the allies in the gallery of the Court and smiling through tears. "I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back. Today, the world finally knows the truth" the former magazine columnist said in a statement after the verdict, according to Reuters. "This victory is not just for me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed." NBC News reported that in a different statement, Carroll's counsel, Roberta Kaplan said, “No one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States. We are so thrilled that the jury agreed."
After the verdict, Trump posted on Truth Social: "I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE - A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!" In two videos that he subsequently published on his Truth Social account on Wednesday night, Trump also dubbed the ruling a "disgrace" and a "sham" and stated that he and his legal team will be "appealing this decision."
If you are being subjected to sexual assault, or know of anyone who is, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)