NEW YORK — A Manhattan federal jury found that former American president Donald Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll in a luxury department store dressing room in the spring of 1996.
The jury found him liable for battery in Carroll’s civil trial against him, based on that sexual assault claim. Carroll also sued Trump for defamation related to a 2022 statement he made denying Carroll’s allegations.
A jury Tuesday found Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll, awarding the writer a total of about $5 million in a significant defeat for the former president.
The jury awarded Carroll about $2 million in damages for her civil battery claim and nearly $3 million for successfully proving her defamation claim against Trump.
Carroll sued Trump for battery, alleging his conduct qualified as a sexual offense because it was rape, sexual abuse or forcible touching.
While the jury did not find that she had proven rape, they did find she proved Trump committed sexual abuse, allowing her to receive damages for her battery claim.
Under the New York Adult Survivors Act, passed in May 2022, survivors of sexual offenses are able to file a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator for damages even if the statutory window of time to bring a claim has expired, as long as they can also show the The offense qualifies as a sex crime under the law.
After the verdict was read, Carroll exited the courthouse smiling and holding hands with her attorneys. She made no comment to the media who shouted questions in her direction.
Her attorney Roberta Kaplan spoke briefly, saying: “We’re very happy.”
Former magazine columnist Jean Carroll was seen holding attorney Shawn Crowley’s hand as the verdict was read in the Manhattan federal court.
Ahead of the verdict’s reading, Judge Lewis Kaplan asked those in the courtroom to have decorum and avoid verbal and physical reactions, which attendees abided by.
Once the jury was escorted out and the verdict was read, Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina made his way to the plaintiff’s table and shook Carroll and her attorney’s hands.
Trump, meanwhile, called the jury’s verdict a “total disgrace” and said it was a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time,” in a post on Truth Social.
He continued to claim he did not know who E. Jean Carroll was in the post. His spokesman Steven Cheung echoed Trump in a statement calling the case “bogus.”
The verdict in E. Jean Carroll’s case against Donald Trump, however, has no legal effect on his 2024 presidential candidacy.
For one, it is a civil case, and during the 2016 campaign, Trump also faced all sorts of civil action, like the fraud cases concerning Trump University.
Those were settled shortly after he was elected and had no bearing on the requirements for the presidency laid out in the Constitution.
Trump also faces unrelated criminal exposure, most prominently in the case that Manhattan prosecutors have brought against him for hush money payments to women claiming extramarital affairs with him.
There are also federal criminal investigations — one concerning the mishandling of documents from his White House and another into the efforts to disrupt Congress’ 2020 election certification — are also encircling him, as is an Atlanta-based probe into the election subversion plots.
Similarly, a successful criminal prosecution of the former president is unlikely to affect, at least from a legal standpoint, his ability to be reelected to the White House.
Notably, there is a precedent for convicted felons to run for federal office — including for the office of the presidency.
Eugene Debs, a perennial socialist candidate for the White House in the early 20th century, was incarcerated on an espionage conviction when he won more than 900,000 votes in a 1920 presidential campaign.
Before dismissing the jury, Judge Lewis Kaplan informed them that they are now allowed to identify themselves publicly, if they choose—but he advised them not to.
“If you’re one who elects to speak to others and to identify yourselves to others, I direct you not to identify anyone else who sat on this jury,” Kaplan added. “Each of you owes that to the other whatever you decided for yourself.” – CNN