Former US President Trump has been ordered to pay damages totaling approximately $83 million to writer Jean Carroll in a defamation case. This amount was determined by the jury of a federal court in New York. Trump immediately announced he would appeal. He had already been sued for the second time by Carroll. Trump was convicted of sexual assault last May. The writer had accused him of raping her in a department store in the mid-1990s. When Trump accused her of fraud and lying in June 2019, while he was still president, she filed her second lawsuit, this time for defamation.
The procedure is one of many involving the candidate for a new presidential candidacy. Carroll’s lawyers had asked the anonymous nine-person jury for heavy damages against the former president, and the panel didn’t disappoint: Carroll was awarded $18.3 million in compensatory damages, and $65 million in punitive damages. The jury deliberated for just three hours after a trial spanning several days of testimony and arguments.
After the sentence, Trump went to social media and stated:”Absolutely ridiculous! I fully disagree with both verdicts, and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party,” he wrote on Truth Social. “Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon.”
A different jury concluded last May that Trump was responsible for sexually abusing Carroll in a Manhattan department store dressing room in 1996. Those jurors awarded Carroll $5 million. If both judgments stand, Trump would owe her a total of $88.3 million.
In court testimony and in her memoir, Carroll said she and Trump went to the store’s lingerie section and then into a dressing room as each tried to persuade the other to try on a lacy item. When they moved into the dressing room, she said, Trump pushed her into a wall, pulled down her tights and sexually assaulted her. Carroll said she broke free and ran. After she wrote about the alleged encounter in 2019, Trump, who by then has been elected president, told reporters he had no idea who Carroll was, that her accusation was “totally false” and that she motivated by a desire to sell books.
As mentioned before, Carroll sued Trump for defamation in 2019, saying his statements about her were false and damaged her reputation. That claim wound up being bogged down for years over the legal question of whether, in denying the allegations, Trump had been fulfilling his duties as president. Trump claimed that the presidency shield him from liability against the defamation lawsuit.
Trump skipped that first defamation trial, but this time he attended many of the proceedings. He briefly testified Thursday, though he was constrained by Judge Kaplan, who had previously ruled that, in light of the prior verdict, Trump could not deny assaulting Carroll while on the witness stand.
In terms of his election campaign, his mounting legal woes have been both a boon and a bane for him, said Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University.”It’s hurt the general population’s views of him, but it’s fuelled and strengthened his base, and even driven some Republicans on the fence to ‘stay loyal’ to the cause,” Prof Reeher told the BBC.
“Trump has been trying to wear these legal troubles as a badge of honour for his victimisation, and of his commitment to his supporters.” But he added that, while Mr Trump’s “witch hunt” framing may benefit him in the ongoing Republican primary contest, how it translates to the general election remains to be seen. Recent polling has shown Trump locked in a tight race with President Joe Biden, and even edging ahead in some cases, in a prospective rematch of their 2020 race.