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Federal Jury Orders Donald Trump to Pay $83.3 Million in E. Jean Carroll Case



A federal jury in New York has slammed the twice-impeached and four-times criminally indicted former President Donald Trump with a massive sexual assault and defamation judgment. The panel ruled on January 25 that Trump, whom a judge declared guilty of rape, must pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll, the prominent writer who accused him of sexual assault. The hefty judgment comes on the heels of a previous $5 million sexual abuse and defamation verdict issued against Trump last year.

In an almost surreal moment that appeared to leave Senior U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in disbelief, the justice asked the jury about the significance of the “M” on their verdict form, to which the foreperson clarified it represented millions. The announcement of the multimillion-dollar award elicited expressions of joy from Carroll, who warmly embraced her legal team at the plaintiff’s table.

Carroll had fought Trump since 2019, when she publicly detailed her allegations against the then-president, who is also facing the possibility of paying hundreds of millions in fines for business fraud. The initial incident, recounted in her book “What Do We Need Men For?” and corroborated by a previous New York jury, involved a decades-old encounter with the Republican presidential frontrunner that was deemed sexual assault.

During Trump’s presidency, Carroll accused him of raping her in the mid-1990s in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman, further alleging defamation when she came forward years later. Trump consistently denied the accusations, dismissing Carroll with the remark, “She’s not my type,” triggering a federal defamation lawsuit. Even in a later deposition, Trump mistakenly identified Carroll with a picture of his ex-wife, Marla Maples.

Carroll’s legal pursuit gained momentum when New York temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for sexual assault through the Adult Survivors Act. She filed a separate lawsuit under the statute, adding more defamation claims based on Trump’s persistent denials and harsh language toward her. Last spring, a different jury awarded Carroll $5 million for sexual abuse and defamation.

Earlier, Kaplan determined that the remaining issue in Carroll’s lawsuit was to decide how much more Trump must pay for statements made during his presidency. The verdict, which holds Trump accountable for his words during his time in office, adds to the growing list of civil and criminal liabilities the former president faces.

With an unprecedented 91 felony charges from various state and federal cases, including hush-money payments, mishandling classified documents, and allegations related to the January 6 U.S. Capitol attack, Trump’s legal challenges continue to escalate. Earlier this month, a congressional investigation found that he took money from foreign governments while in office. It’s widely believed that Trump is running a second time against President Biden in hopes of staying out of prison and more legal jeopardy, thinking he would either pardon himself or order prosecutions against him to cease. He has expressed a desire to jail or even execute his political opponents.

Meanwhile, a separate judge may impose a $370 million penalty for fraudulently inflating assets if the ruling aligns with New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ wishes. Carroll’s lead attorney, Roberta Kaplan, emphasized that the previous verdict against Trump wasn’t sufficient, stating, “Not even for 24 hours” could the former president stop defaming his client.

Trump, visibly displeased, left the courtroom but later returned for his lawyer Alina Habba’s summations. Habba faced sustained objections during her address to the jury. The courtroom tension escalated when Habba, arriving late and disputing a judge’s ruling, drew a stern warning from Kaplan.

Former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner commented on the verdict, criticizing Habba’s “scorched earth tactics” as “extremely self-destructive.” Epner told the Messenger news service that Trump had already posted cash for the first verdict and would need to pay more to avoid the execution of the latest award, potentially depositing around $92 million in cash or an appeal bond.

“Otherwise, Carroll can start seizing personal assets around the country (and put liens on real estate),” Epner added.

 

The Reporter Newspaper
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